This article was first published on by By Kim Arveen Patria
Torrential rains brought by the southwest monsoon has so far left 19 people dead, as most cities and provinces remain submerged in heavy floods.
A total of 19 persons have been reported dead, three missing and four injured, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said in its 6 a.m. update Thursday.
Heavy rains have affected close to two million Filipinos, it added, noting that 538,445 persons have been served basic needs and services primarily through 488 evacuation centers.
Still under severe floods are 89 cities and municipalities in Metro Manila as well as Regions I, III, and IV-A, the NDRRMC added.
States of calamity have meanwhile been declared in Marikina, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela, Muntinlupa, San Juan, Pasig, Pasay, Caloocan and Pateros in Metro Manila; the provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga and Zambales in Region III; Laguna in Region IV-A; and in the Palawan municipalities of Culion, El Nido and Linacapan in Region IV-B.
As of Wednesday, the government has deployed relief assistance worth P7.935 million while P36.56 million in funds and supplies remain on stanby, the NDRRMC said.
Flooding in a total of 154 roads and four bridges in affected areas, however, continue to pose challenges to rescue and relief operations.
This, as the NDRRMC noted continuously rising water levels in major dams in Luzon.
“Angat and Ipo in Bulacan, La Mesa in Quezon City, Ambulao and Binga in Benguet, San Roque in Pangasinan and Pantabangan in Nueva Ecija have already reached their critical levels; hence, they are closely monitored,” the NDRRMC said.
As of 8 a.m. on Aug. 9 the following dams have opened gates to release water:
-Ipo dam, two gates at 1.5 meters each, releasing 196 cubic meters per second (cms);
-Ambuklao dam two gates at 1.3 meters each, 169 cms;
-Binga dam, two gates at 2 meters each, 290 cms;
-San Roque dam, two gates at 2.5 meters, 638 cms.
Gates of the Magat dam have been closed at 5:45 a.m. but its water level is still at 191.67 meters, higher than the spilling level of 190 meters.
The La Mesa dam, which has exceeded its spilling level of 80.15 meters continues to overflow, with elevation now at 80.45 meters.
In critical levels, meanwhile, are Angat dam at 211.65 meters with a spilling level of 210 meters; Pantabangan dam at 208.64 meters and spilling level of 221 meters; and Caliraya dam 286.63 meters and a spilling level of 288 meters.
“All residents living in the areas near the Ipo, Ambuklao, Binga, San Roque and Magat dams are advised to be alert for possible increase in the water level downstream and those near the La Mesa dam are advised to be alert for the overflow of water in La Mesa Dam,” the NDRRMC said.
Forced evacuation is still impelemented for residents near the Marikina River as water level reached “an alarming state of 19.8 meters” as of 2:37 a.m. on Thursday, the NDRRMC said.
In its latest forecast 5 a.m. Thursday, the weather bureau noted occasional rains becoming frequent over the western sections of Luzon.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) added that such rainfall “may trigger flashfloods and landslides.”
Pagasa at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 9 also kept Metro Manila under a yellow warning signal, noting that moderate to heavy (5-10 mm/hr) rains may be expected over the Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela area; and light to moderate (2.5-5 mm/hr) rains over Quezon City, Manila and Marikina for the next two hours.
By Kim Arveen Patria