Heavy rains cause massive flooding in Dumaguete

CLASSES on October 19 were suspended for the elementary and high school levels in Dumaguete City and other parts of Negros Oriental due to heavy rains that triggered massive flooding in many places.

Dumaguete Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo ordered the cancellation of classes early Thursday, October 19, while Adrian Sedillo, executive officer of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, announced the same for other parts of the province that were also inundated by heavy rains.

City Information Officer Dems Rey Demecillo said the suspension of classes in Dumaguete City was made to minimize risks to the safety of the people and damage to property and infrastructure.

Excessive rainfall that went on for several hours until after midnight of Wednesday, October 18, had caused the Banica and Ocoy Rivers to overflow, rendering spillways and roads impassable in Dumaguete. It also triggered landslides in nearby Valencia town.

People were stranded and rescued later as massive landslide was reported in Sitio Mag-aso in Barangay Pulangbato, Valencia.

The Palinpinon road was also sealed off to traffic as floodwaters from the Ocoy River spilled over to the road.

Two spillways in the back roads of Dumaguete, one in Bagacay-Batinguel and the other in Colon-Bagacay, were reported to have collapsed after hours of flooding that also caused damage to nearby houses after the Banica River overflowed.

Traffic was heavy and slow-moving Thursday morning, October 19, due to the collapsed spillways.

No casualty had been reported so far amid reports of evacuation to safer ground, City Hall sources said.

Demecillo declined to give an official statement yet, saying they would be convening soon to pool all available data from Wednesday's flooding.

However, clearing operations continue as the City Government’s engineering services, rescue teams and other workers, under the supervision of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office are deployed to different flood-affected areas in Dumaguete.

More than 100 families in Dumaguete, especially those living along the banks of the Banica River, are now at evacuation centers as the City Social Welfare Office is gearing up to provide the basic provisions and services to them.

Heavy rains and flashfloods were also reported in Siaton, Bayawan City, Sibulan and San Jose, all in Negros Oriental.

In Valencia, landslides were reported in different areas, while spillways were also rendered impassable since Wednesday evening, October 18.

As of 10:45 a.m. Thursday, the spillways of Barangays Caidiocan and Malaunay were not passable; Ocoy and Banica Rivers still have very strong current of water; Ocoy spillway is not passable, current is very strong and it overflowed again; Balugo Bridge and Tejero Bridge are still passable, said Senior Inspector Al Enriquez, Valencia police chief.

Landslides were reported in Barangay Cambucad, Barangay Pulangbato, and Sitio Mag-aso, Barangay Pulangbato.

In Barangay Palinpinon, 20-30 families were initially evacuated to the Palinpinon Chapel with 300 more or less individuals.

The Energy Development Corporation has deployed heavy equipment and teams to clear the landslide areas.

In a phone interview, Engr. Vicente Omandam of EDC’s Negros Island Geothermal Business Unit said Palinpinon road is still not accessible due to flood although they are now conducting an assessment and clearing operations.

The EDC earlier issued a statement confirming that “a series of landslides took place in (barangays) Puhagan, Pulangbato, Malaunay and Caidiocan.”

“Our Civil Works team is still assessing the area and are checking to ensure the safety of our partner communities. We have also mobilized our barangay emergency response team to Valencia to provide updates,” Omandam said. (PNA)
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