Emergency disaster declared due to severe flooding and landslides in parts of the Philippines
Following the heavy downpour last Wednesday night until yesterday, floods and landslides were reported in Cebu City and different areas of the province.
PDRRMO reported rock falls along the Transcentral Highway in the boundary between Balamban town and Cebu City. Only one lane was passable in some areas.
“All drivers are advised to carefully drive near the landslide-prone areas. Acacia trees might fall anytime due to the softening of the soil and heavy droplets from the leaves of the trees. Simple hazards but dangerous. We will focus on the warning and potential hazards not just on its impacts. This is a Cebu-wide scenario so all Cebuanos must listen and take extra precaution,” said PDRRMO head Baltazar Tribunalo Jr.
In Bogo City, budget officer Dante Mayor said more than 200 people were evacuated to the city sports complex. Around 600 sacks of relief goods were also distributed to the affected barangays in the city.
A portion of the Guadalupe Bridge in the city also caved in.
Sixty people have been evacuated to the Bogo Central School, around 1,300 to the multi-purpose center in Barangay Anonang Sur, and around 300 to the multi-purpose gym in Barangay Malingin.
In Talisay City, city information officer Vince Monterde said 80 families from three sitios in Barangay San Roque were evacuated to a birthing center after a river overflowed. Another 178 families were also evacuated from Sitio Plangganahan.
Evacuees were served meals by the city government and DSWD.
In Barangay Manipis, a landslide occurred but no casualties and injuries were reported.
The Provincial Information Office said that in the City of Naga, the Lanas Barangay Hall was damaged by rock falls, but there was also no report of casualties or injuries.
Eight Mandaue barangays inundated
In Mandaue City, eight barangays experienced knee-deep floodwaters due to heavy rains.
Overnight rain caused knee-deep floods in barangays Subangdaku, Opao, Umapad, Banilad, Tipolo, Guizo, Mantuyong and Labogon and because of this the city government had to deploy vehicles to transport stranded commuters yesterday morning.
Mandaue City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head Felix Suico said two families in Tipolo evacuated to the City Cultural and Sports Complex when the water rose around 4 a.m.
Suico said they have three vehicles —a Kaohsiung bus, a truck and a L300 van— on standby outside the Bantay Mandaue Command Center in case of emergency evacuations.
Suico said they transported commuters stranded in Barangay Ibabao, along UN Avenue and in Parkmall while a truck of the Armed Forces of the Philippines also helped transport commuters from Cebu City to Mandaue and vice-versa.
He appealed to residents living in flood-prone areas, especially along Mahiga Creek and Butuanon River, not to wait for authorities to evacuate them when the water rises to critical level.
Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III suspended the classes in all levels in both public and private schools in the province, as well as work at the Capitol.
However, Capitol’s skeletal force which includes the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Provincial Health Office, Provincial Engineering Office, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer, remained on standby for monitoring and emergency operations.
Davide said the suspension of classes was done to ensure the safety of the students and prevent a repeat of a recent incident in Argao where three students were killed after they were swept by a flashflood.
The severe weather condition that caused flooding also led to the suspension of classes in the entire Cebu Province.
First to declare cancellation of classes was Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama who initially announced suspension in all public schools but later included private schools as floodwaters rose.
The cities of Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, Talisay, Naga, Carcar then followed with their mayors and spokespersons relaying the announcement through various media outlets. In Cebu City alone, about 50 percent of all 115 intersections were flooded, City Traffic Operations Management operations head Jonathan Tumulak reported to the council.
Flooded intersections included those in barangays San Nicolas, Basak Pardo, Mambaling, Kalubihan, Duljo-Fatima, Sambag I, Labangon, Kamputhaw, Day-as, Sta. Cruz, Kamagayan, Parian, Sto. Nino, Ermita, San Antonio, Zapatera, Lorega, Tejero, Tinago, San Roque, Hipodromo, Mabolo, Luz, and Carreta.
Portions of South Coastal Road and South Road Properties were also flooded, prompting CITOM to redirect light vehicles away from the Mambaling access road which was heavily flooded.
Showing images and map of flooded areas, Tumulak briefed the council on their monitoring and response which included rerouting vehicles to avoid deeply flooded areas and pulling out stuck vehicles.
He then asked the council to expedite the purchase of a towing truck as these are useful in removing stuck vehicles in flooded street.
Other affected areas in Cebu City included J. Lorente Street in Barangay Capitol Site, sitios Tambisay, Idiang and Lower Puti in Barangay Labangon and Barangay Buhisan.
A minor landslide was also recorded in Sitio Cantipla, Barangay Tabunan, early morning yesterday but the road remained passable.
In Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza instructed Department of Education-Lapu-Lapu City Division Superintendent Edwardo Ompad to cancel classes in prep, elementary and high school levels because of floods.
City Disaster and Management Office deputy officer Andy Berame said barangays Pajo and Basak were worst hit, the latter because it is the city’s lowest-lying barangay, but he said the floodwaters also subsided quickly. Classes in both elementary and high school in Mandaue City were also suspended in the city yesterday.
State of calamity
Due to massive floods that trapped thousands of commuters around Metro Cebu, a state of calamity was yesterday declared by the Cebu City Council and approved in a special session called by presiding officer Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella.
With this, the P5 million calamity fund can be used by the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council for disaster response measures.
Also authorized by the council is the use of the lump sum appropriation of P200 million intended for drainage project in the city, specifically to fund dredging of waterways in the city since most of these overflow after heavy downpour like what happened yesterday dawn.
The Department of Engineering and Public Works is now set to dredge in rivers and waterways in Guadalupe, Ermita, Pahina-San Nicolas, Bulacao, Kinalumsan, among others, the soonest possible time.
The declaration was moved by Councilor Gerardo Carillo and did not meet any objection among council members present. Councilors Margarita Osmeña, Alvin Dizon, Alvin Arcilla, and Dave Tumulak were absent during the emergency session.
In a motion, Councilor Eugenio Gabuya also urged the expediting of purchase of flooding responding equipment like sweepers, decloggers, among others to be charged to the CPDRRMC’s account.
Stranded passengers ferried
At least a thousand people in Cebu City were ferried by the city government through buses and dump trucks after heavy downpour yesterday morning.
Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella said the estimates was provided by the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
Red Alert Status
The Office of Civil Defense-7 declared red alert in Central Visayas to prevent loss of lives even though no storm signal has been raised in the region.
Flor Gaviola, assistant regional director, said that regional director Olivia Luces raised the alert level to red due to the continuous rainfall.
Gaviola urged all local disaster management offices to activate their operation all day long.
She said pre-emptive evacuation will only be effected if the local disaster management office sees a potential threat to the safety of the residents.
Meanwhile the Police Regional Office-7 is on disaster alert starting yesterday, said deputy director for operations Senior Superintendent Conrad Capa. The Regional Public Safety Battalion-7 is on standby in case search and rescue operations are needed.
Cebu Provincial Police Office director Senior Superintendent Noel Gillamac also ordered the provincial station commanders to monitor landslides and flashfloods in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
The Philippine Coast Guard Central Visayas has monitored 73 stranded passengers as of 8 p.m. last night, 17 vessels and 16 rolling cargoes were prevented from sailing.