by Camcer Ordoñez-Imam, Aaron B. Recuenco, and Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
Cagayan De Oro City — The state weather bureau has put most of Northern Mindanao under Code Red alert yesterday afternoon due to continuous rains that have flooded this city and the provinces in the region.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) raised the alert for the provinces of Camiguin, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Norte, and Bukidnon, which were most affected by the low pressure area (LPA) and tail-end of a cold front yesterday.
Lanao del Sur, the four provinces of Agusan and Surigao, including Dinagat Islands, were under Code Red, as well.
LIKE JANUARY 16
In Cagayan de Oro, several areas were submerged as floodwaters rose almost to the levels experience last January 16.
The University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines and the Lim Ket Kai Complex on C. M. Recto Avenue were flooded.
In some villages, residents left their homes as waterways began to overflow due to the heavy rains that began at dawn and continued until Saturday afternoon.
It was recalled that Cagayan de Oro was caught by surprise by the flashflood that occurred earlier this month. The flashflood resulted in the death of at least 10 people, seven of them in Cagayan de Oro City.
According to the City Social Welfare and Development, about 37 families were evacuated in Barangays Bonbon, Puerto and Macasandig.
Aside from Cagayan de Oro City, most of the Northern Mindanao were hit.
In Gingoog City, 142 families from Barangay Agay-anan had to seek shelter at the town’s covered court.
The Police Regional Office 10 (PRO10) said it has deployed more than a thousand law enforcers from various units to act as search and rescue responders flood-prone areas in the city and Misamis Oriental.
“We are now taking precautionary measures. We are particularly assisting the CDRRMO (Community Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office) and PDRRMO (Provincial DRRMO) on preemptive evacuation as well as managing traffic. We have deployed police personnel on key areas to direct traffic, help stranded motorist and provide assistance to the public,” said Chief Superintendent Agripino Javier, PRO10 director.
Javier said a number of police vehicles were deployed to assist local residents in their transport to safer areas.
“We have also deployed personnel on key areas to direct traffic, help stranded motorists and provide assistance to the public,” said Javier.
Supt. Surki Serenas, spokesman of the Northern Mindanao regional police, said Javier’s order came after another fresh flooding brought by a low pressure area and northeast monsoon.
“This resulted in the continuous heavy downpour over Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro,” said Serenas.
As of yesterday, Serenas said some portion of Iligan-Butuan national highway was not passable due to flooding.
With the continuous rain, our regional director has ordered all police units in the entire region to be on alert.
Two rain-inducing weather systems will bring rains over several areas in the country today.
PAGASA located a low pressure area (LPA) outside the country’s area of responsibility or 290 kilometers south of Mindanao.
PAGASA said the trough or extension of the LPA and tail-end of cold front could bring moderate to occasionally heavy rains and thunderstorms over Eastern Visayas, Caraga, Davao, Northern Mindanao, Bohol, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Lanao de Sur.
Residents in mountainous or low-lying areas were warned against possible floods and landslides due to continuous rains.
Meanwhile, light to moderate rains and isolated thunderstorms will prevail over the rest of Visayas and Mindanao.
PAGASA said the LPA is not expected to intensify into a tropical cyclone.
By Monday until Tuesday, PAGASA said the resurgence of the northeast monsoon or amihan will cause cloudy skies with light to moderate rains and isolated thunderstorms over Cagayan Valley, Ilocos Norte, Cordillera Administrative Region and Aurora province.
Metro Manila and the rest of the country will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms.
PAGASA said that by Wednesday until Friday, the amihan will bring cloudy skies with light rains over Cagayan Valley and Aurora province.
Meanwhile, the rest of the country will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms.
STATE OF CALAMITY
Meanwhile, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP or Provincial Board) of Compostela Valley has declared the province under a state of calamity following heavy rains that flooded at least six towns in the province.
The provincial legislative body made the declaration in a special session Friday.
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) had earlier recommended to the provincial government for the formal declaration of the status a day earlier.
The municipalities of Monkayo and Montevista have already declared state of calamity.
Compostela, Nabunturan, Laak, Maragusan, New Bataan and Mawab towns also experienced flooding in their barangays.
Total damage to infrastructure, agriculture and livestock has been reported to reach P492,272,721.01.
Damage to agriculture was estimated to be around P363 million, affecting 5,517 farmers and damaging 6,278 hectares of farms.
Infrastructure damage was also estimated to be around P121 million, while damage to poultry and livestock was estimated to be around P8.8 million.
The data were consolidated from the reports submitted by the Municipal DRRMOs, DPWH, and Provincial offices of the Engineering (PEO), Agriculture (PAGRO) and Veterinary (PVO), the provincial government said.
Gov. Tyron Uy thanked the Philippine Army, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine Red Cross and other agencies.
He also thanked the DSWD thru Reg. Dir. Mercedita Jabagat and DOH Asec. Abdullah Dumama Jr. for the medicines that will be distributed in the province.
Top national officials, Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary “Manny” Piñol and the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) Reg. Dir. Leoncio Cirunay Jr., also visited the province to personally see the conditions of those affected on January 26.
As of January 26, only 131 of the thousands of evacuees remain in the evacuation centers in New Bataan and Montevista with most of them going back to their homes as water subsided.
RAINS HIT BUTUAN
In Butuan City and the Agusan provinces, heavy rains were experienced yesterday, activating emergency responders.
The city has not even completely recovered from the scourge of last January 16’s flooding.
The local government is set to provide Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) to flood victims whose houses were damaged due to the tail-end of cold front, the region’s social welfare official said.
Regional Director Mita Chuchi G. Lim of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD 13) said the families whose houses were partially damaged will receive P10,000 ESA cash assistance while the totally-damaged will receive P30,000.
“Affected families should only submit required documents that will be submitted by their respective local government units,” she said.
The ESA program is the provision of emergency “self-build” shelter assistance through limited materials or financial assistance to augment resources of affected families who opted not to be transferred to a resettlement site to enable them to purchase materials for their damaged houses.
As reported by the Quick Response Team (QRT) of DSWD, there were 515 families whose houses were damaged with the said weather disturbance.
Of the number, 348 were totally-damaged while 167 were partially-damaged.
As of press time, DSWD is awaiting the request of the LGUs along with the required documents for the request of ESA funds.
STILL IN EVACUATION CENTERS
Meanwhile, the regional office of the DSWD 13 said about 5, 517 families or 25, 496 individuals from the 68 barangays of the 11 municipalities in Agusan del Sur that were affected by floods are still in the various evacuation centers spread all over the province.
Agusan del Sur province, particularly those in the five Agusan river towns and its tributaries and Agusan Marsh are the most devastated areas by floods due to continuous rains brought about by the tail-end of the cold front since Jan. 17, 2017.
In Butuan City, close to 1,000 families from the 11 barangays here are still at the Agusan National High School, Butuan Central School and other evacuation centers in the city as overflowed Agusan river are still flooding their respective villages, including the city streets and main thoroughfares in Butuan.
FLOOD WARNING IN CARAGA
The DSWD’s regional office in Caraga has extended a total of P4,335,997 worth of relief assistance to local government units currently experiencing another round of massive flooding due to incessant rains.
Several provinces in Caraga have been enduring fresh waves of deluge because of the trough of a low pressure area that is bringing moderate to occassionally heavy rains in Mindanao. The regions of Davao and Soccsksargen are likewise troubled by the same weather disturbance.
PAGASA raised a severe flood warning yesterday over Region 13 as rivers and tributaries in Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte and Dinagat Islands might overflow.
Based on its 10th heavy rainfall warning, the state weather bureau said serious flooding was expected in the low-lying areas of Caraga as well as in the provinces of Camiguin, Bukidnon, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur. (With reports from Yas D. Ocampo, Mike U. Crismundo, and Aytch dela Cruz)