THE Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) yesterday confirmed that approximately 200 millimeters of rainwater in 12 hours caused the floods in southern Cebu at the height of tropical storm Seniang.
Pagasa Visayas Director Oscar Tabada said that the 200 millimeters is equivalent to one million barrels of water in a 300-kilometer radius, enough to create the flood that washed away houses and infrastructure in the towns of Alcantara, Ronda, Dumanjug, Barili, Sibonga and Carcar City.
The flood killed at least 14 people in Ronda and destroyed the livelihood of the people there and in the other devastated areas.
The mud that covered the ground and roads in the affected areas came from the mountains, said Tabada, adding it only indicated that there is no more forest cover in the upland areas.
Earlier, Al Quiblat of Pagasa Mactan said that before Seniang entered the country last Dec. 30, they saw on their radar a warning for heavy or torrential rains with 30 to 50 millimeters of rainwater per square kilometer per hour.
Quiblat said that they gave the warning to the concerned agencies, including the local government units.
Meanwhile, Vip Semilla, head of the Argao Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said the more than one-hectare wide crack found last Dec. 30 in the boundary between Barangays Catang and Tabayag was caused by landslides and could not be considered a sink hole.
A cow fell into it, while a hut is already leaning toward the affected ground.
Semilla believed that the intensity three earthquake that shook the Zamboanga area in Mindanao last Dec. 29 loosened the ground in Barangay Catang and this was further weakened by the continuous rains, causing the soil to erode.
Experts from Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, though, have yet to visit and assess the area, said Semilla.