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Massive floods hit Isabela, Cagayan

Heavy downpour triggers avalanche of rocks and mud that submerges at least 33 villages
Massive floods hit Isabela, Cagayan

DEBRIS FROM DELUGE Large driftwood and logs from the mountains and forests are scattered in the flood-hit City of Ilagan after three days of incessant rains. —VILLAMOR VISAYA JR.

TUMAUINI, ISABELA—Torrential rains had spawned floodwaters that surged across the provinces of Isabela and Cagayan, submerging at least 33 villages where residents fled their homes for safety, local officials said.

The heavy downpour since Wednesday also triggered an avalanche of rocks and mud that buried roadsides in the several towns, making these impassable to motorists and causing a lockdown in Cagayan’s capital city of Tuguegarao.

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State of calamity

Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba on Friday placed the province under a state of calamity to tap disaster funds for immediate relief operations.

Mamba said the massive flooding, which reached the roofs of houses in some villages, had displaced about 70,000 people who were now staying in temporary shelters.

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Logs from mountains

The Cagayan River serves as a catch basin of rainwater that cascades from the nearby provinces of Isabela, Apayao and Mountain Province.

Mamba said the river swelled due to the floodwater and burst its banks, submerging low-lying villages.

Flood-hit villagers trooped to water refilling stations as they ran out of potable water.

Large driftwood and logs washed up in farms and roads after mud and floodwater flowed from the mountains and forests.

The body of Domingo Bacani, a farmer who drowned in the flood at Barangay Lanna in Tumauini, was recovered on Friday.

Police Capt. Frances Littaua, Isabela police spokesperson, said search and rescue operations were ongoing for Hilario Bersamin, who went missing in flood-hit Barangay Santo Tomas in the City of Ilagan.

Three roads and eight bridges in Sto. Tomas town, also in Isabela, remained submerged in floodwater, isolating the villages of Malapagay, Ammugauan and San Rafael Abajo.

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Over P900-M damageTwenty six villages in Isabela remained without electricity.

The Department of Education (DepEd) said Typhoon “Tisoy” (international name: Kammuri), which battered the Bicol region from Monday to Tuesday, destroyed 240 classrooms and damaged 543 others.

Mayflor Jumamil, DepEd Bicol spokesperson, said the estimated cost for the destroyed classrooms was P600 million and the damaged classrooms was P272 million. She said they would need P7.4 million to clean and repair the classrooms.

DepEd officials in Bicol urged public schools to minimize their Christmas revelries to just simple bonding activities with the students instead of having food parties following the onslaught of Tisoy.

The island province of Marinduque was placed under a state of calamity, joining the list of other areas in Southern Luzon that suffered damage from Tisoy. Two fatalities were reported in the province.

In Palawan province, the body of a fisherman was found floating on Thursday in a river in Sofronio Española town. Police believed the man drowned at the height of the typhoon. —WITH REPORTS FROM MA. APRIL MIER-MANJARES, REY ANTHONY OSTRIA, MARICAR CINCO AND MADONNA VIROLA

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TAGS: Cagayan, environment, floods, Isabela, torrential rains
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