Typhoon Ambo brings relief to parched land of Central Luzon
CITY OF MALOLOS—The moderate to heavy with occasional intense rains spawned by Typhoon “Ambo” (international name: Vongfong) expected over Central Luzon this weekend will ease the feared water shortage in Metro Manila, an official here said.
Felicisima Mungcal, head of the Bulacan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said water elevation at Angat Dam, located in Barangay San Lorenzo of Norzagaray town, is expected to rise due to rain in the area.
As of Friday, the elevation at the dam reservoir was at 187.52 meters above sea level, way below the spilling level of 212 masl.The dam’s reservoir water, which supplies 97 percent of Metro Manila’s drinking water, began to recede on May 3 when it reached 189.92 masl, raising specter of another round of water shortage in the national capital.
The drop in the dam’s water level was caused by the extreme summer heat and the prolonged absence of rain. In Nueva Ecija province, the water level at Pantabangan Dam was at 184.77 masl on Friday morning, a slight increase from 184.76 masl the previous day. But it was still way below the spilling level of 221 masl.
Planting seedsIn Isabela province, corn farmers took advantage of the storm and began planting seeds.
“The rain would soften the soil of parched farms,” said farmer Divina Baquiran of Barangay Santa Barbara in the City of Ilagan.
Baquiran said she had to borrow money to pay her eight farmworkers because she had been unable to sell her produce and became penniless due to the Luzon lockdown that began in mid-March.
The lockdown and border closures enforced under the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) were aimed at stemming the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that has afflicted 12,091 persons nationwide as of Friday.
By Sunday, Nueva Ejica will be among the provinces where restrictions have been eased to general community quarantine. Speed up
In Bulacan province, the construction of an infectious disease laboratory has been sped up, hoping to make good progress before rain dumped by Ambo would stop work. Ambo was downgraded to severe tropical storm by Friday afternoon.
The testing lab at Bulacan Medical Center will serve residents designated as probable and suspected carriers of COVID-19. It hopes to open in June.The provincial engineering office has been working round-the-clock to finish the P11.4-million building to house the laboratory. The provincial government has allocated P28 million to buy the laboratory equipment.
Bulacan needs to finish testing of 1,400 people, including medical front-liners, provincial health officials said. —REPORTS FROM CARMELA REYES-ESTROPE, ARMAND GALANG AND VILLAMOR VISAYA JR.
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