190 Luzon villages flooded
CALASIAO, Pangasinan—The rain stopped on Sunday, but traffic enforcer Cristina de Leon was worried she would have to wade in chest-deep water on her way home at Barangay (village) Ambunao.
The officer of the day at the town’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO), De Leon said she had observed that more villages in this town were being flooded.
On Sunday, at least 15 of Calasiao’s 24 barangays were reported to be under water.
Floodwaters came from the Marusay River, the downstream of the Sinocalan and Tagamusing Rivers that come from Mount Ampucao in Benguet province. The waterway cuts through the town and passes through Dagupan City before draining into the Lingayen Gulf. On Sunday, Marusay was already 2.74 meters above its normal level and still rising, DRRMO chief Freddie Villacorta said.
At least four people were reported to have died as a result of the rains, including 6-month-old RJ Orteras, who was buried by a landslide at Barangay Catungi in Bolinao, Pangasinan province, and Romeo Sunong, 13, who drowned in Zambales province, according to civil defense officials. About 3,000 people were forced to flee to evacuation centers.
Although no storm was forecast, the government weather bureau warned that “monsoon rains, which may trigger flash floods and landslides, will be experienced” over large areas of the northern part of Luzon.
Heavy rain dumped by the southwest monsoon over the past five days flooded at least 190 villages in Luzon, including 100 in Pangasinan, the officials said.
The southwest monsoon also whipped tornadoes in the Pangasinan towns of Sual and Anda, destroying 31 houses and triggering landslides in the towns of Bani and Bolinao. Swollen rivers breached dikes in Sta. Barbara, Binalonan and Lingayen.
Bani Mayor Gwen Palafox Yamamoto said at least 200 families from her town’s 11 villages were taken to seven evacuation centers.
Yamamoto said 90 percent of the town’s agriculture area was destroyed while its aquaculture areas were under water, allowing the stocks to escape from the ponds.
She said her town had been placed under a state of calamity.
Dian Lovemore Carranza, DRRM officer in Bolinao, said some villages in his town were isolated because of at least 11 landslides. He said a bridge linking the villages of San Roque and Catuday collapsed.
The water level at San Roque Dam in San Manuel town rose by almost 15 m in the last two days, officials said.
Virgilio Garcia of state-owned National Power Corp. said the rain had filled up Ambuklao and Binga Dams in the upstream of the Agno River, prompting officials to open their spillway gates. But Garcia said there was no cause for alarm because San Roque Dam’s water level was still way below its maximum level.
In the Cordillera, a section of Marcos Highway in Barangay Taloy Sur in Tuba, Benguet, was closed early Sunday after a landslide hit the area but a single lane was opened by midmorning, said the Office of Civil Defense.
The other major routes to and from Baguio City—Kennon Road and Naguilian Road—were open Sunday as the weather improved after almost three weeks of rain in the summer capital.–Reports from Gabriel Cardinoza and Yolanda Sotelo, Inquirer Northern Luzon; Tonette Orejas and Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Inquirer Central Luzon; and AFP
Originally posted: 06:53 PM July 19th, 2015
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