A MAN drowned, and thousands of individuals fled their homes after heavy rains caused rivers to overflow and inundate communities in Danao City and in the towns of Tuburan, Asturias, Balamban and Compostela on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020.

Waren Jay Almaden, 27, and his motorcycle were swept away by floodwaters in Danao City at around 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, the Danao City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) said.

Almaden’s body was found around six hours later, at 3:24 p.m., in Brgy. Sta. Rosa while his motorcycle was recovered in Brgy. Ogis, still in Danao City. Almaden’s wife has identified the body.

He was reported missing shortly after the Danao CDRRMO issued a flood alert via Facebook at around 9 a.m. because Tangon River in Brgy. Tabok had overflowed.

Up to 106 individuals or 24 families in Danao were evacuated and temporarily housed in the Tabok covered court, the Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said.

“There are reports that some houses in the upland areas have been washed out but (this will) still be verified by CDRRMO,” the PDRRMO report said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, police, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) personnel and other uniformed personnel were still conducting rescue operations for families trapped in their homes.

Aside from Tabok, other affected barangays were Taytay, Suba and Poblacion.

Affected towns

The PDRRMO said Tuburan was hit hardest by flooding.

In Brgy. 8 alone, the PDRRMO said 2,610 individuals, 1,735 families and 683 households were affected.

There were also 20 families who evacuated from Brgy. Mangga, 30 families from Brgy. Colonia and 780 families from Brgy. Poblacion.

Other affected barangays were Magbuaya and Portalisa.

In Asturias, the PDRRMO said 156 families or 680 individuals in the barangays of Bago, New Bago and Sta. Lucia were affected.

Flooding was also experienced in Poblacion and Brgy. Owak.

More than 100 households from three barangays in Balamban were also evacuated.

The affected barangays were Baliwagan, Cantuod and Nangka.

Balamban Mayor Alex Binghay said heavy rains and the high tide caused a river to overflow. Landslides have also been reported in upland areas.

“A barangay captain told me that they are still experiencing rains in the upland areas. In fact, there have been landslides. I have dispatched our heavy equipment but there is no guarantee that these will reach the area immediately because the rains could make passage difficult,” Binghay said.

Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia plans to visit the affected areas.

She said she will coordinate with the local government units and the Department of Public Works and Highways to resolve the flooding problem.

“I have to see for myself the situation, whether this inundation, this flooding, is caused by lack of drainage and which roads (are affected) - whether this is on the national highway or on interior roads - and that will take a very careful assessment of the entire area,” Garcia told reporters.

Weather systems

Light to moderate with occasional heavy rains may be expected over Cebu until Thursday, Dec. 3, the Mactan station of state weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said.

Those residing in or near areas prone to flashfloods and landslides were urged to remain vigilant.

Jhomer Eclarino, Pagasa-Mactan weather specialist, said two weather systems are affecting Cebu. These are the trough or extension of the low pressure area (LPA) spotted east of Sorsogon and the presence of the tailend of a frontal system.

“What happened in Tuburan were thunderstorms. We should expect heavy rains in case of thunderstorms or convected clouds,” he said.

Pagasa-Mactan recorded 36 millimeters (mm) of rainfall from Wednesday dawn until 8 a.m. of the same day in their station in Lapu-Lapu City.

Eclarino said Tuburan and other areas detected in their radar, including Asturias and Balamban, also experienced around the same amount of rainfall during that period.

Every one mm of rain is equivalent to 5,000 drums or barrels of rain per square kilometer.

As of Wednesday evening, the LPA was located 100 kilometers east of Juban, Sorsogon. Pagasa said there was a low chance that it will develop into a tropical depression in the next 24 hours.

At around 5:20 p.m. Wednesday, Pagasa-Mactan issued an orange rainfall alert for Cebu City, Mandaue City, Consolacion and Liloan.

This means flooding is a threat in low-lying areas and landslides threaten mountainous areas.

The weather bureau asked the public and the disaster risk reduction and management council concerned to take appropriate actions. (ANV / WBS)