Cebu City floods blamed on trash, clogged waterways
CEBU CITY—Garbage that clogged drainage systems and shanties built in waterways all contributed to the flash floods that submerged parts of this city and killed at least two persons on Tuesday night.
“That was the first time that we had that magnitude of [flooding] and one of the things that we found out when we went around was the volume of garbage. There was a lot of trash,” said Mayor Edgardo Labella.
Personnel from the city’s Department of Public Services, he said, had started clearing the streets and waterways of garbage. Some 140 tons of solid waste have so far been collected.
Labella said the Department of Public Works and Highways had already set aside funds for the relocation of settlers who live along creeks and whose structures impede the flow of water from the mountains to the sea.
“The challenge that we have is on how to be able to ask or remove the settlers there. I think they have already agreed, in principle, that they will be relocated. We assure them that they will be provided with relocation,” the mayor said.
“It’s going to be a challenge but we really have to do it,” he added.
A heavy downpour triggered by a localized thunderstorm and Tropical Depression “Ofel” on Tuesday caused rivers in the city to spill their banks. The rising water submerged roads and stalled vehicles.
Residents Flavio Gonzaga Detuya, 85, and Leonardo Otto, 48, drowned, while an unnamed 16-year-old male remained missing after he was swept away by strong current.
Ramil Ayuman, officer in charge of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said it was the first time that some areas in the uptown district were hit by heavy flooding. “What happened was unprecedented. We haven’t experienced such an incident in years.”
Ayuman also cited the need to relocate residents living within the 3-meter easement zones of rivers and creeks.
“The worst part is that we lost lives. We need to speak with the engineering department because as we have checked, they still have a budget of P150 million for flood control, so I think we can use the money for immediate concerns,” he said.
In Bohol, heavy rains triggered landslides in three mountain villages of Jagna town on Wednesday night.
Authorities on Thursday recovered the body of an unidentified drowning victim in Liliw, Laguna, after sudden floods hit the province.
In Batangas province, trips of passenger vessels bound for Mindoro resumed as the weather condition improved.
In Laguna, flooding was reported in the lakeshore and low-lying villages in the cities of San Pedro, Cabuyao and Calamba, and in the towns of Los Baños, Liliw, Calauan, Nagcarlan, Sta. Cruz, Majayjay, Pagsanjan, Kalayaan, Pangil, Famy, Mabitac, Paete and Pakil.
Landslides were reported in Kalayaan, Calauan and Nagcarlan towns. —WITH REPORTS FROM MARICAR CINCO AND LEO UDTOHAN
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