At least 16 die in slides, floods
OLONGAPO CITY—At least 16 people were killed while four others were reported missing as heavy monsoon rains since Sunday night triggered severe flooding and landslides in this city and nearby towns of Zambales province on Monday, local officials and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Central Luzon said.
Two other deaths were reported in Laguna and Iloilo.
Weathermen said Zambales bore the worst of the enhanced southwest monsoon, or “habagat,” describing the amount of rainfall in the province on Monday morning as “more than torrential” or of the “deluge type.”
Landslides buried several houses in Subic town, killing at least eight people in Barangay (village) Cawag and five others in Barangay San Isidro, said Nigel Lontoc, assistant regional director of the OCD.
Although Typhoon “Odette” (international name: Usagi) left the Philippines for China over the weekend and completely lost its hold on the habagat, another storm outside the country and bound for Japan started enhancing the southwest monsoon and dumped rains over Luzon, the weather agency said.
“Pabuk” has been pulling at the habagat, which could spawn rains until Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said. It said the storm is well outside the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR), in the far northeast of the country over the Pacific Ocean.
Senior weather forecaster Jori Loiz told the Inquirer that with the enhanced southwest monsoon in effect over Luzon, rains were expected to continue until Wednesday in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and southern Luzon.
Zambales Vice Gov. Ramon Lacbain II said the provincial police had identified only six of the fatalities from the Cawag landslide. They were Danilo Cuanan, 43; Doray Cuanan, 5; Ryan Ejucardas, 7; Jay Ar Ejucardas, 4; Kean Ejucardas, 5; and a certain Brian, a worker of a shipyard in Subic.
Subic Mayor Jefferson Khonghun, in a television interview on Monday, said his town had been isolated, as floods, which he described as “lampas tao” (more than the height of an ordinary person), submerged roads. Villages that had not been flooded before experienced severe flooding on Monday, he said.
Khonghun said roads leading to his town were impassable to all types of vehicles but boats and other watercraft may be used to reach Subic.
He said his town had been placed under a state of calamity.
The massive flooding in Olongapo City, a major commercial center of Zambales, also surprised many residents who were caught in more than 5-foot-deep floodwaters. Calls for help overwhelmed rescue workers.
The city was placed under a state of calamity.
Retired principal Herminigilda Escobar Macaraeg, 67, was swept by a strong river current in Gordon Heights at 3:30 a.m., an OCD report said. Her body was found at 2 p.m.
Among the worst-hit villages in the city were Sta. Rita, Mabayuan and East Bajac-bajac. Some residents were trapped inside their houses due to rising floodwaters. Vehicles left on the streets were submerged, as assorted debris, including logs, tree branches and garbage, clogged waterways.
Mabayuan River spilled over Kalaklan Bridge while floodwaters submerged the main streets and business district.
Electricity was cut off at 5:30 a.m. Classes in all levels were suspended in Olongapo and other towns in Zambales.
“We are doing the rescue needed. The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and members of Iglesia ni Cristo are helping. All barangays are actively participating in the rescue operation. SM is also helping,” city administrator Mamerto Malabute said.
He said some evacuation centers in the city were also flooded. “We need clothes, food and drinking water,” he added.
Loiz noted that Bataan and Zambales received the biggest amount of rainfall from Sunday to Monday morning.
“From 9 to 10 a.m. [on Monday], the amount of rainfall registered in Subic Bay, Zambales, was at 77 millimeters. That is more than torrential, that is already a deluge,” he said.
Based on Pagasa’s precipitation chart, 2 mm per hour to 7 mm per hour amount of rainfall is moderate, 7.5 mm per hour to 15 mm per hour is heavy, 16 mm per hour to 30 mm per hour is intense, and 31 mm per hour to 50 mm per hour is categorized as torrential.
“The amount of rainfall registered in Subic, Zambales, was way beyond that,” Loiz said.
In Bataan province, floodwaters in three coastal villages in the capital city of Balanga rose to 3 feet.
Business activities were disrupted after power was cut off in the morning.
Floodwaters at the Layac junction and Barangay Sta. Isabel road in Dinalupihan town leading to Olongapo rose to more than 3 feet, rendering roads impassable to light vehicles.
Five villages in Hermosa town were under 4 feet of floodwaters, forcing residents there to use small boats.
Bataan Gov. Albert Garcia suspended classes on all levels in the province.
The widespread flooding in the western section of Central Luzon prompted the suspension of classes in many parts of Bulacan, Bataan, Zambales and Pampanga, according to a report from the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC).
Local officials suspended classes on all levels in the Bulacan towns of Sta. Maria, Bocaue, Marilao, Pulilan, Paombong and Obando, and in Meycauayan City.
Floodwaters rose to 2 to 4 feet in villages in Macabebe and Lubao towns in Pampanga.
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) said Pampanga River started swelling but the waterway’s sections in Arayat, San Luis and Apalit towns had yet to overflow.
As of Monday afternoon, Porac-Gumain River on the western side of Pampanga, with headwaters from Mt. Pinatubo, had 5 feet to spilling level. Gugu Creek was 3 feet away from spilling level.
At the San Fernando-Sto. Tomas-Minalin tail dike, men rushed in sandbagging areas to redirect waters away from the residential areas and lead these to the newly desilted Sapang Labuan, which heads to Sasmuan town and Manila Bay.
In Bulacan province, operators of Bustos Dam continued to release water on Monday due to heavy rain.
Precioso Donato Punzalan, supervising assistant for dam operations, said the two gates started releasing 110 cubic meters per second after water level reached 16.88 meters, slightly below its spilling level of 17.35 meters.
The water level at Ipo Dam was 100.06 meters above sea level, which is nearing its 101 masl spilling level, the Bulacan PDRRMC reported.
In Laguna, one drowning case was reported in a river in Calamba City on Sunday. The victim, Eugenio Adao, was riding a boat with his cousin, Amores Recelo, when strong current caused it to capsize.
A 13-year-old boy identified as Emar Pintazon has been missing since Saturday in Occidental Mindoro.
As of 5 p.m. on Monday, the water level at Laguna de Bay was recorded at 12.9 meters, or 0.30 meters higher than the critical level during Typhoon “Maring,” said Laguna Lake Development Authority resident hydrologist Emil Hernandez.
The normal lake water level is 12.50 meters above sea level.
Submerged in ankle- to waist-deep floods were the towns and cities of San Pedro, Biñan, Cabuyao, Calamba, Bay, Sta. Cruz, Mabitac, Siniloan, Kalayaan and Famy in Laguna, RDRRMC director Vicente Tomazar said.
In Batangas, three landslides occurred in Talisay town on Friday, damaging two houses and a public high school building.
Most parts of Noveleta town in Cavite were in knee- to chest-deep floodwaters, a resident, Xyzy Ybañez, said.
Flood also hit three towns— Abra de Ilog, Sablayan and Mamburao—in Occidental Mindoro.
In Iloilo City, a 7-year-old girl drowned in a flooded village in Villa Arevalo District. Police identified the victim as Elyssa Villareal, whose body was found at 9:30 a.m. on Monday in Project 5, Barangay So-oc.
Villareal was reported missing on Sunday night after she failed to come home, said Mario Mahinay, supervising administrative officer of the City Social Welfare and Development Office.—With reports from Robert Gonzaga, Cesar Villa, Tonette Orejas, Jun Malig, Greg Refraccion and Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Inquirer Central Luzon; Maricar Cinco and Madonna Virola, Inquirer Southern Luzon; and Nestor P. Burgos Jr., Inquirer Visayas
Floods, landslides kill 20 in Zambales
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