MANILA, Philippines—The sight of dark clouds and the sound of pelting rain were enough to send residents in the flood-prone areas of Quezon City fleeing to higher ground.
By noon Wednesday, nearly 8,000 families from 39 barangays sought shelter in more than 80 evacuation centers around the city.
Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista said that local officials hardly faced opposition in evacuating residents who, by themselves, sought refuge in evacuation centers aware of the danger posed by the monsoon rains.
Bautista told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that at the first sign of rain: dark clouds and a few drops, residents barely needed convincing to leave their homes. “They have grown afraid (of the effects of the habagat [southwest moonson]),” he said.
He added that some of the evacuees would leave one or two persons, usually men, behind to guard their homes against possible looters who might take advantage of the calamity.
Most of the evacuees, the mayor said, have started to return to their homes as the floodwaters started to subside.
“We hope that the weather would not be like that of yesterday (Tuesday). At least for now, I think we have already gone through the worst of the habagat,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
It was all hands on deck for the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) for the evacuation operations in some 39 barangays, particularly in Bagong Silangan, Sto. Domingo, Sta. Cruz, Dona Imelda and the Roxas District.
Chief Supt. Richard Albano, the QCPD director, said that all policemen on duty were deployed to the areas to assist in the operations and maintain peace and order. “There were some residents who wanted to see floods first before fleeing but there are more who voluntarily evacuate,” he told the Inquirer.
According to Fely Corpuz of the Quezon City social services and development office (QCSSDO), as of noon Wednesday, there were 7,845 families from 39 barangays in the different evacuation centers. In the first district, 2,695 families from 13 barangays, including Roxas District and Sto. Domingo; in the second district, there were 1,715 families from Barangays Bagong Silangan, Batasan Hills, Payatas and Commonwealth; while in the third district, there were 432 families from three barangays who fled their homes.
In the fourth district, 1,087 families were evacuated from four barangays; 1,336 families from nine barangays in the fifth district; and 580 families from five barangays in the sixth district.
Corpuz told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the QCSSDO had set up community kitchens for some residents, who have returned to their homes after the floodwaters subsided.