‘Worst’ flood to hit Palawan town shocks villagers
BROOKE’S POINT, PALAWAN — Floodwater came gushing into the houses of residents living in low-lying villages in this town on Thursday following intense rains, forcing at least 3,841 families, or 18,082 people, to seek shelter on higher ground.
Jose Jallorina, 63, a resident of Barangay Pangobilian, said they had to immediately vacate their house after the water from the nearby river began rising.
“I woke up at 7 a.m. and I saw that the streets were already submerged in knee-deep floodwater. It quickly reached the stairs of our house, so we were forced to get out immediately, leaving our belongings behind,” Jallorina told the Inquirer on Friday.
He said the water from the Tigaplan River suddenly rose and inundated their house and those of their neighbors, adding that the water reached up to about 4-foot high.
“The last time we experienced this magnitude of flood was in 1975, when streets were also submerged in knee-deep water,” he added.
According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, the strong downpour experienced in the province and most parts of Southern Luzon was caused by a low pressure area and the northeast monsoon, or “amihan.”
Delma Esquilon, 65, another Pangobilian resident, said it was the first time they experienced a rapid rise in the river’s water level.
“The water rose very fast, and the currents were so strong that we didn’t have time to bring our clothes,” Esquilon said.
She added: “What scared us the most were the snakes and scorpions that could be lurking beneath the floodwater.”
For Ed Lacandazo, the municipal administrator, Thursday’s flooding was the “worst” to hit the town.
“I think this is the biggest. We were also hit by floods in the 1970s … but this one is the worst because even the town proper was flooded,” Lacandazo said in a separate interview.
Lacandazo said Mayor Cesareo Benedito Jr. had been “making rounds of the villages to check the situation and address the concerns of affected residents.”
According to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), the severe flooding affected 3,903 families (19,292 people) in 16 of the 18 villages in the town.
State of calamity
Thursday’s floods occurred when the town was still recovering from rain-induced deluge shortly before the New Year.
On Dec. 28 last year, Brooke’s Point was placed under a monthlong state of calamity after rains, brought about by the combined effects of the shear line and northeastern monsoon, spawned massive flooding.
PDRRMO chief Jeremias Alili said some areas in the town were isolated last Thursday by the flood and had to be rescued from the rising water.
In Rizal town, 13 families (37 people) were affected by the floods, while 518 families (2,235 people) in Sofronio Española town were temporarily staying in three evacuation centers.
Local disaster officials said 23 more families (79 people) in Narra town were rescued from the floods and were brought to evacuation sites.
Southern Luzon bears brunt of bad weather
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