44 feared dead, over 2 million affected in floods – police, civil defense officesBy Frances Mangosing and Matikas Santos
MANILA, Philippines – At least 44 persons were feared dead from widespread flooding triggered by nearly two weeks of relentless rains in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, according to the combined data from regional civil defense offices and police.
From reports of the Office of the Civil Defense in National Capital Region, 17 were listed dead; while one was recorded in Valenzuela, one in Romblon and two in Calabarzon according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council; 19 from OCD Central Luzon and four were from the Rizal Police Provincial Office.
However, the official death toll of the NDRRMC remained at 19 as of 5 p.m.
The number of affected persons ballooned to over 2.1 million. As many as 2,110,871 persons were affected in 16 provinces in Luzon, Mimaropa, Western Visayas and Metro Manila, the NDRRMC reported.
Hardest hit by the deluge was Central Luzon with 1,318,053 persons affected. Metro Manila was the second hardest hit with 265,715 displaced persons.
Meanwhile, the NDRRMC reported that 314,795 persons are still at evacuation centers.
Director Edgar Ollet, Chief of the NDRRMC Operations Center, said that it might take up to 48 hours before they can return to their homes.
He said they would have to return to their villages gradually. “The closer they live to the riverbanks, the longer they will have to stay in evacuation centers,” he said
“There really are a lot living near the rivers,” he added.
Total cost of assistance had reached P23,460,767.40 with the National Capital Region getting the biggest allocation based on the extent of damages.
According to Connie Dadivas, weather forecaster from the state weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, the rains which battered parts of the Philippines had “one of the most threatening rainfalls.”
The seasonal southwest monsoon, enhanced by tropical storm Haikui, dumped rains surpassing of tropical storm Ondoy (International name Ketsana) in 2009. In a 22-hour period, 472 mm amount of rain fell, as recorded at Pagasa Science Garden from 4:45 p.m. of August 6 to 3p.m. of August 7.
However, Ondoy dumped 455 mm in 24 hours, but 341 mm of it fell over a six-hour period.
Ondoy, which crippled Luzon in late September 2009, killed 464 persons and affected nearly five million persons across the Philippines. It left damages of P11B worth of agriculture and infrastructure, based on records from the NDRRMC Operations Division.
Last year, tropical storm Falcon (international name Meari) affected nearly 1.79 million persons while tropical storm Juaning (international name Nock-Ten) in late July claimed 77 lives and has affected nearly 1.3 million persons.
OCD NCR Director Susana Cruz said that the three days of relentless heavy rains caused by the southwest monsoon were “worse” than Ondoy’s rainfall in a sense that we did not see it coming.
“We did not expect this southwest monsoon to be so intense,” she said.
As of latest, waters that swamped Metro Manila have started to subside which Cruz described as “going back to normal scene.”
She added that a clean-up drive may start Friday when flood waters are expected to be fully drained to the Manila Bay.
Meanwhile, the southwest monsoon will continue to affect Luzon, Pagasa said in its latest bulletin.
Northern and Central Luzon and the western section of Southern Luzon will experience occasional rains becoming frequent over the western section of northern and Central Luzon, which may trigger flashfloods and landslides. The rest of the county will be partly cloudy to at time cloudy with isolated rainshowers and thunderstorms.
It also terminated the rainfall warning in Metro Manila Thursday noon and has not been lifted since.