CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama has ordered a preemptive evacuation in vulnerable areas as heavy rainfall may persist until the weekend, as the neighboring city of Talisay, also hit by floods, called on the public to clean their environment of waste to prevent the blockage of drainage systems.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) recorded 11 millimeters of rainfall on Wednesday, July 6, 2022, which resulted in massive flooding in some areas in Metro Cebu.

Jhomer Eclarino, weather specialist of Pagasa-Mactan, told SunStar Cebu on Wednesday, that the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) had brought heavy to intense to at times torrential rains.

The convergence of winds from the north and southern hemisphere led to the formation of the ITCZ, he said.

Eclarino said the intermittent weather condition may continue until the weekend, which can cause flash floods and landslides in vulnerable areas.

In Cebu City, Rama has ordered personnel of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO) to roam around the city and implement preemptive evacuations in areas considered hazard zones.

Based on the information provided by the CCDRRMO, 10 barangays in the city have experienced flooding and other hazards due to the heavy rainfall.

Rescue operations were conducted by the CCDRRMO in Barangay San Jose and two sitios in Barangay Tisa, while another rescue operation was conducted in Barangay Labangon as the flooding had already reached neck level.

The flooding has resulted in impassable roads in Barangays Sikatuna, Basak San Nicolas, Pung-ol Sibugay and Kinasang-an.

The CCDRRMO has also monitored flooding in Barangay Mambaling and continued to monitor the overflowing river with a strong current in Barangay Bonbon. The flood level in Barangay Pahina San Nicolas has reached knee level.

Dredging

Rama has ordered Councilor Jerry Guardo, chairman of the committee on infrastructure, to meet with the Department of Public Works and Highways for dredging operations in the rivers in the city.

Liga ng Mga Barangay President Franklyn Ong was also directed by Rama to meet with barangay captains for the implementation of massive desilting works in the city’s drainage system.

The mayor also urged residents to keep the city clean from garbage that may block waterways by starting in their own homes.

Rama added that flooding incidents in the city should not be ignored and must be addressed.

In a separate interview, Guardo said flooding is a normal recurrence during heavy downpours, but projects are already on the way to solve the issue.

Guardo added that the City Government is prioritizing the funds for flood control and river improvement projects.

There is an ongoing river improvement project in the Kinalumsan River, but there are hindrances due to land dispute issues, said Guardo.

Talisay City

Flooding also hit the neighboring city of Talisay for the second straight day on Wednesday, July 6, amid heavy rains, leaving several passengers stranded and some vehicles stuck in flood water, prompting the city government to request businessmen in the city, especially those whose establishments are located along the road, to clean their surroundings of plastic and other wastes daily to prevent them from being swept away by moving rainwater into the drainage.

Alvin Santillan, head of the Talisay City DRRMO, said amid heavy rains, it floods.

He said one of the causes of flooding in the city is their clogged drainage due to garbage.

“We have an Aksyon Agad team, but they will serve as first responders to areas in the city where flooding occurs,” Santillan said in Cebuano.

The CDRRMO official also blamed the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for allegedly installing the culverts in an upward position instead of downward, thus slowing the flow of water towards the mouth of the drainage in the river or sea.

”I also observed on N. Bacalso that the DPWH’s culvert is facing upward. So how can the water flow? We will let our engineering personnel work on that. To make a drainage plan is not easy. The drainage has to flush towards the river,” Santillan added.

Bulacao Barangay Captain Banjo Abastillas said he would also recommend to Mayor Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. to conduct a weekly cleanup of drainage in his barangay.

Bulacao has four sitios that usually get flooded during heavy rains. (IRT, BBT, TPT)