At least 7 dead as severe flooding hits Olongapo, Zambales towns

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OLONGAPO CITY, Philippines–At least seven people were killed as continuous and heavy monsoon rains since Sunday night triggered severe flooding in this city and landslides in the nearby town of Subic in Zambales province on Monday, reports from local officials and disaster response agencies said.

Subic Mayor Jefferson Khonghun, in a television interview, said at least six people were killed in separate landslides in the villages of Wawandue and San Isidro in his town.

Khonghun said a landslide buried at least four houses in Wawandue and rescue workers had dug up four bodies there on Monday morning.

He said his town was isolated as floods, which he described as “lampas tao” (higher than an average person) submerged roads.

Khonghun said roads in his town were impassable to all types of vehicles, but boats and other watercraft may be used to reach Subic.

The massive flooding in Olongapo City, a major commercial center of Zambales province, surprised many residents who were caught in more than five-foot deep floodwater. Calls for help also overwhelmed rescue workers.

City Administrator Mamerto Malabute said at least one resident was killed in the floods but he could not provide details on the victim as he was awaiting reports from rescue workers.

Among the worst-hit villages in the city were Sta. Rita, Mabayuan, and East Bajac-bajac. Some residents have been trapped inside their homes due to rising floodwaters.

“We are doing the rescue needed. The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and members of the Iglesia ni Cristo are helping. All barangays are actively participating in the rescue operation. SM is also helping,” he said.

Malabute said some evacuation centers in the city were also flooded. “We need clothes, food and drinking water,” he said.

Reports said water has overtopped the Mabayuan Bridge and floodwaters are rising in the Olongapo’s main streets, crippling traffic flow.

Electricity supply in the city was cut off at 5:30 a.m.

Classes in all levels have been suspended in Olongapo and other towns in Zambales. With a report from Cesar Villa, Inquirer Central Luzon

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