Cash aid, rice for Manila flood victims; rains to continueCebu Daily News
Officials in Cebu City Hall and the Capitol promised to send cash aid to flood victims in Metro Manila, as the capital and nearby areas staggered under the weight of floodwaters.
In yesterday’s 888 News Forum, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said he would advance P5 million from calamity funds as the city’s contribution.
Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said the province would send rice and material aid.
The offer came as more than half of Metro Manila and nearby cities and towns in five regions went under water seven feet deep due to uninterrupted monsoon rains late Tuesday.
The state weather bureau Pagasa raised the weather alert from yellow to green to red in a span of a few hours, saying it expected intense rain to prevail for the next few hours.
The death toll reached 26 but the count could go higher in the next few days, said, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
About 160 public schools in Metro Manila and nearby towns were being used as evacuation centers raising the possibility of a long vacation for students, education officials admitted (More stories on Islands page 10).
In Cebu City, Rama said the city government will coordinate with the Red Cross in donating cash assistance.
“I encourage everyone to pray because there is no absolute guarantee that it (Manila flooding) will not happen to Cebu,” the mayor said.
Governor Garcia said she asked Provincial Social Welfare Officer Marivic Garces to call local officials in Manila and surrounding provinces.
“My first instruction is to provide in kind as soon as possible assistance to the affected areas,” the governor said.
She said cash aid will follow after Garces finsihes an assessmet.
Garcia said the Capitol will pay for a shipment of rice from the National Food Authority (NFA) to be distributed to the evacuees.
“The floods have now affected 250,000 more families,” the governor said.
The Mactan office of the state weather bureau Pagasa said it’s possible that the heavy, continuing rainfall caused by the southwest monsoon over Manila and the rest of Luzon may happen in Cebu and anyplace in the country.
Pagasa analyst Al Quiblat said unlike Luzon which has several dams, Cebu only has the Buhisan dam in Cebu City and another dam in Carcar City.
He said the 10 days of rain experienced in Manila and Luzon were the longest recorded period in the country.
Quiblat said this is alarming since the southwest monsoon or habagat is usually only accompanied by strong winds.
He said the monsoon was intensified by typhoon Gener and the international typhoon Haikui which already made landfall in China the other night.
“It is already alarming because this is not the usual characteristic of a southwest monsoon,” Quiblat said.
He said local government units and the public should be ready for contingencies whenever heavy rains occur.
Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said Filipinos should learn to accept heavy rainfall and a long dry spell as the “new normal” as a result of climate change.
“There is nothing we could do but to adapt to climate change.
The only way we can prepare for its impact is to accept that these recent developments in our country like intense weather disturbances, heavy rainfall, and the long dry season are now the ‘new normal,” he said.
The country has been classified as highly vulnerable due to the effects of climate change, he said.
He said the government has been working to minimize its impact. SWU Intern Agnes Domasig, Palompon Institute of Technology Interns Jessa P. Omega and Sheila Marie B. Bilbao and Correspondent Fe Marie D. Dumaboc with Inquirer reports