Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Floodgates opened CL provinces under state of calamity - Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Heavy rains spawned by the southwest monsoon and Tropical Storm Maring caused the water level to rise in four dams in Luzon and one in Metro Manila, prompting reservoir officials to open the floodgates yesterday, aggravating the flooding in affected communities.

The death toll rose to nine as four others were reported missing and 41 were injured in the torrential floods.

Based on data at 3 p.m. from the operating and managing agencies, among the reservoirs that opened their floodgates were the Ambuklao and Binga dams in Benguet, Ipo in Bulacan, and Magat in the boundary of Ifugao and Isabela provinces.

La Mesa Dam in Metro Manila overflowed.

Of the four, Magat Dam had only one gate opened, while the rest had two.

As the La Mesa Dam started to overflow around noon, an official of the Manila Water immediately recommended an evacuation of affected areas.

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Residents along Tullahan River in Quezon City were evacuated as the dam reached its spilling level of 80.15 meters at about 11:35 a.m.

The water spilled to the Tullahan River was expected to affect residents in Quezon City, Valenzuela, Malabon and Navotas cities.

Teddy Angeles, headworks manager of the La Mesa Dam for Manila Water, said latest monitoring showed the dam's water level reached 80.27 meters, surpassing its spilling level.

"It's red alert given the situation. Concerned agencies and local government units should have facilitated evacuation of affected residents in their respective areas," said Angeles.

Earlier, Jeric Sevilla, head of corporate communications of Manila Water, said the water in the dam continues to rise because of heavy rains.

Reports from Tuguegarao City said the Magat Dam was a meter away from its spilling level of 193 meters. This is based on monitored reading at 3 p.m. as disclosed by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration-Department of Science and Technology (PAGASA-DOST).

The dam with elevation at 191.13 meters continues to release 200 tons of water per second through one open gate.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council cautioned residents in low-lying areas to take precautionary measures.

Death toll hits 9

The new fatalities were recorded in Central Luzon and Cordillera region, according to the National Disaster Risk, Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

In Bataan, three-year-old Jeric Sorgello drowned after he fell into a river. Two others, Renato Roman Lacsamana, 64, and one year-old Justin Viray, also drowned in Pampanga.

In Bulacan, 11-month-old Jian Charles Centeno drowned in Malolos.

A report from the 1st Civil Relations Group said 21-year-old Monching Makidan died in a flashflood in Mountain Province.

Seven-year-old Joros Miyage, earlier reported missing, drowned in Tanza, Cavite.

Three fatalities were reported last Monday – Franco Pedrito Cawayan, 30, who died in a road accident in Apayao; Celedenonio Gamban, 39, who drowned in Cavite, and Austin Betasolo, 5, who was pinned to death after a concrete fence collapsed in Rizal.

The bad weather left four persons missing and 41 others injured.

The NDRRMC said 30 of the injured were rescued from Sagada cave in Mountain Province.

A total of 602,442 persons or 125,348 families have been affected by the bad weather.

More than 40,000 persons remained sheltered in 199 evacuation centers nationwide.


State of calamity

The continuous rains and floods prompted local governments of Narvacan in Ilocos Sur; Bataan; San Fernando, Masantol, Guagua, Macabebe and Minalin in Pampanga; Laguna; Cavite; Pateros; Parañaque; San Mateo in Rizal, and Obando in Bulacan to declare a state of calamity in their areas. Edgardo Ollet, civil defense director for National Capital Region, said 60 percent of Metro Manila was flooded due to heavy rains.

He said rescue teams and trucks were deployed to critical areas in Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas and Manila.

The situation improved later in the afternoon as NDRRMC executive director Eduardo del Rosario said that only about 20 percent of Metro Manila was under water as of 4 p.m.


Flights cancelled

As of 3 p.m. 162 international and domestic flights were cancelled due to bad weather.

Philippine Airlines cancelled 59 international flights, both departures and arrivals.

Cebu Pacific cancelled 18 flights.


Still rainy

Metro Manila and nearby areas can expect gradual improvement in weather beginning today as Maring accelerated as it moved away from the country, according to the state weather bureau.

Robert Sawi, head of PAGASA weather division, said rains would continue over parts of Central Luzon, including Bataan and Zambales, until today.

By Thursday, the southwest monsoon will still dump rains over Central Luzon and the Ilocos region, including Pangasinan and La Union, as Maring exits Philippine territory.

Sawi said they expect improved weather throughout the country by Friday.

Maring, the 13th tropical cyclone to enter the country this year and the third weather disturbance this month, gained strength and picked up speed as it moved northward towards northern Taiwan before noon yesterday.

As of 4 p.m. Maring was spotted at 540 km east northeast of Itbayat, Batanes with maximum sustained winds of 95 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of 120 kph.

It was forecast to move north at 19 kph.

Maring lingered off Batanes since Saturday after its path was blocked by another weather system north of it, further intensifying the southwest monsoon and prolonging the torrential rains.

While no public storm warning signals were raised, Maring may bring heavy to torrential rain within its 500-km radius, the weather bureau said.

PAGASA said the storm would still enhance the southwest monsoon, which will bring moderate to heavy rains and thunderstorms over Luzon and western Visayas. It is predicted to be 460 km northeast of Itbayat this morning; and 560 km northwest of Itbayat or outside the Philippine area of responsibility tomorrow morning.

PAGASA's 5 p.m. forecast showed Maring may exit the Philippine area of responsibility this afternoon.


Record-high rainfall

Esperanza Cayanan, PAGASA NCR regional services division chief, said the rainfall recorded in the agency's station in Sangley Point, Cavite during a 24-hour period (from 8 a.m. of Aug. 19 to 8 a.m. of Aug. 20) was 475.4 millimeters, higher than the 335 mm recorded the other day. Cayanan said the one-day rainfall volume also exceeded the average monthly rainfall in Sangley Point of 467.2 mm.

Sawi said as a whole, the monsoon rains this year were not as bad as the 2012 rains.

As of 4:10 p.m., PAGASA placed under orange rainfall advisory Metro Manila, Rizal, Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales and Bataan.

Under orange warning, severe flooding is expected, according to PAGASA.


Over 200,000 evacuated

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) said a total of 41,569 families or 205,478 individuals in Metro Manila and nearby provinces have been evacuated to safer ground.

The PRC said the displaced families came from 76 cities and municipalities as it noted that there were 18 houses destroyed and 525 others damaged.

PRC secretary-general Gwen Pang said they had a hard time convincing residents to leave their homes. Many agreed to be evacuated only when the situation got worse.


Work, classes suspended anew

Malacaang was forced to suspend classes and work anew in all government offices in Metro Manila as heavy rains poured over the metropolis starting at dawn yesterday.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. issued the advisory around 7:30 a.m., after the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and PAGASA recommended the suspension.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Aquino's engagements would have to be rescheduled, noting that the President was monitoring the situation in the National Capital Region.

The Presidential Security Group reported that a portion of Arlegui street inside Malacañang complex has been flooded.

Jose P. Laurel street, the street leading to the main offices in the Palace, remained passable to motorists.

Classes and work in the nearby Luzon provinces were also suspended.


P-Noy monitoring the situation

President Aquino is monitoring the updates on Tropical Storm Maring even if he is not doing the rounds of affected areas, Palace officials said. Communication Secretary Ricky Carandang said Aquino had wanted to inspect the storm-hit areas but was advised by NDRRMC to postpone it due to bad weather.

"He was advised just this morning by NDRRMC not to do the rounds because they are in the middle of operations and these may be disrupted," Carandang said, adding the President may visit the affected areas once the weather improves.

"He is constantly updated on what's happening and he is making sure that resources of the government are being used to provide all the assistance necessary."

The President, Carandang said, is sending instructions to his officials through text messaging.

He said Aquino has asked his Cabinet to ensure that the necessary assistance is extended to affected areas.


Hundreds of commuters were stranded at the Layac junction in Dinalupihan, Bataan and other parts of the province after portions of the Olongapo-Gapan Road and the MacArthur Highway traversing four towns and one city were flooded due to heavy rains.

The Bataan Provincial Disaster Risk, Reduction and Management Council reported that floodwaters started to rise at 3 a.m. Monday on the two roads. Dump trucks and 16-wheeler trucks were used to transport commuters from Layac to Dinalupihan, and vice-versa. – With Helen Flores, Alexis Romero, Jaime Laude, Delon Porcalla, Ed Amoroso, Ding Cervantes, Raymund Catindig, Artemio Dumlao, Rudy Santos, Michelle Zoleta, Ric Sapnu, Raffy Viray, Eva Visperas, Jack Castaño, AP

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