400 families flee as river overflows
TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan, Philippines — Close to 400 families or 1,030 people living in low-lying villages in Cagayan and Isabela provinces were taken to evacuation centers on Saturday as intermittent heavy rain caused rivers to overflow again.
Fifty-four other families or 117 people sought shelter in the houses of their relatives as floodwaters began to inundate their areas, said Francis Joseph Reyes, information officer of the Office of Civil Defense in Cagayan Valley.
Flood warning was issued for villagers living near the lower part of the Cagayan River, which reached an alarming level at 7 a.m. on Sunday, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).
Pagasa’s hydrological forecast said Cagayan River’s tributaries—Pinacanuan de Tuguegarao, Chico, Pared and Dummun —could also breach their banks due to the rising water.
This capital city and the towns of Peñablanca, Enrile, Solana, Iguig, Amulung, Alcala, Baggao, Lasam, Gattaran, Lallo, Camalaniugan and Aparri, all in Cagayan, are located near the lower part of the country’s longest river.
Pagasa said flooding was also possible in upper Cagayan and middle Cagayan River and their tributaries.
“Towns and cities near the Cagayan River are again affected [by the flooding] but we are ready. We are resilient,” said Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba.
Jimmy Rivera, Isabela disaster risk reduction and management officer, said at least six villages in Ilagan City and Cabatuan town were submerged in waist-deep floodwaters sinceFriday.
Floods also hit the low-lying areas in the towns of Luna, San Isidro and San Mateo, all in Isabela. The concrete railing of the Baculod overflow bridge in Ilagan was damaged due to the swelling of the river.
Two floodgates of Magat Dam in Ramon town were opened at 3 meters on Sunday, releasing water at a volume of 765 cubic meters per second.
The tailend of a cold front and the northeast monsoon were affecting northern Luzon, bringing moderate to heavy rain, according to Pagasa.
Police Brig. Gen. Crizaldo Nieves, Cagayan Valley police director, said relief operations in the two provinces were under way and rescue teams were on standby for possible search-and-rescue operations.
Cagayan and Isabela are still reeling from severe flooding. INQ
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