Legazpi flood meets match
LEGAZPI CITY—Disaster response and local officials in this capital of Albay province are pinning their hope on a recently completed P2.1-billion project to solve the city’s flooding problem.
“Flooding has been a perennial problem of the city since [Legazpi] is [situated] below sea level. But with the availability of high-end technology, we hope this will be solved [soon],” Mayor Noel Rosal said.
Legazpi, particularly its low-lying areas, is often hit by floods. Rosal said floodwaters submerge most parts of the city, often resulting in cancellation of classes.
Legazpi, he said, has been hosting national and international conventions so it is important to develop the city as an all-weather, disaster resilient area.
The city’s latest flood control project, funded by the national government and implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), was opened by President Aquino on May 5.
Rosal said the multibillion-peso project features floodgates and three pumping stations in strategic locations in the city. River channels in the villages of Tibo, Baybay and Victory were widened to ease the flow of floodwater.
“[With the flooding problem gone], more investors will come in and that would surely boost the city’s economy,” he said.
Rosal said generator sets would keep the flood control system running even during outages caused by storms and flooding.
Wilfredo Pecos Intia, city administrator and concurrent city disaster risk reduction and management council action officer, said hundreds of families, particularly those living in low-lying villages, stay at the city’s central evacuation center in Gogon Elementary school whenever floods hit the city.
Sections of Legazpi’s central business district, which include the villages of Cabangan, Orosite and Barangays 13, 14 and 15, are among the worst hit areas.
“[With the project in place,] I’m confident that there will be no more preemptive evacuation of families when floods are expected to hit the city,” Intia said.
Floodwaters took several days to subside when Legazpi was submerged after Typhoon “Reming” hit Albay in 2006. At least 1,500 people were reported dead or missing after the typhoon devastated the city. Michael B. Jaucian, Inquirer Southern Luzon
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.