New floods kill boy, aggravate Isabela woes
ILAGAN, ISABELA, Philippines—Still reeling from the effects of Supertyphoon “Juan” over two weeks ago, Isabela and Cagayan have been pummeled by rains since Oct. 30 that triggered floods and landslides.
Arnold Tumbaga, 9, a Grade 3 pupil, was pinned by a mudslide that buried his house in Barangay Dipuso in San Mariano town, while a man was reported missing in Benito Soliven town, according to the Isabela disaster risk reduction and management council here.
At least 200 residents in low-lying areas in villages in Isabela and Cagayan moved to evacuation centers on Wednesday and Thursday as continuous rains triggered floods, reports from disaster response agencies showed.
Tumbaga was the youngest child of Benito Tumbaga. His father and his siblings survived the slide.
Rescuers are looking for Willie Resurreccion of Yeban Norte in Benito Soliven who was swept away by strong current in the Pinacanauan River.
San Mariano has been isolated by landslides but public works and Army volunteers have been clearing the area of mud and rocks.
In Ilagan, at least 4,500 families have been isolated or have fled to higher grounds due to massive flooding, said Antonio Montereal Jr., Ilagan government information officer.
Most of these evacuees come from the villages of Cabiseria 4, Aggasian, Fugu, Bagumbayan, Sta. Barbara, Camunatan, Guinatan and Calamagui 2nd, he said.
Reports said floods hit the towns of Ilagan, Gamu, Tumauini, Cabagan, Sta. Maria and San Pablo while most areas in northern and eastern Isabela remained without electricity since winds whipped up by Supertyphoon Juan toppled power lines on Oct. 18.
Ilagan Mayor Josemarie Diaz suspended classes to avoid any danger due to the massive flooding. The suspension will last until today (Nov. 5).
Rubber boats were sent to Alinguigan and Camunatan villages to save isolated families, while ready-to-eat food and other goods were distributed in flood-affected villages, Montereal said.
“These barangays are virtual catch basins [for rainwater] so we have been on the move to help the affected villagers,” he said.
Overflow bridges—Cabagan-Santa Maria, Santo Tomas-Cabagan and Alicaocao—have been impassable since rains triggered floods.
Reports received by the Inquirer also showed that several villages in Tuguegarao City, and Solana and Alcala towns in Cagayan were flooded on Wednesday, prompting residents to move to evacuation centers.
Senior Supt. Mao Aplasca, Cagayan police director, said 31 residents in five villages in Tuguegarao have evacuated to higher grounds, while 284 persons have fled to evacuation sites in Baggao, Cagayan.
The floods have stopped traffic through the Tawi and Cabasan bridges in Peñablanca town; Capatan bridge and Macapagal Avenue in Tuguegarao City; Abusag and Bagunot bridges and Bitag Grande Road in Baggao town; Itawes Bridge in Tuao town; Maguilig Bridge in Piat town; Mauanan Bridge in Rizal town; Villa Salud Bridge in Solana town; and Poblacion Road in Enrile town.
Officials of the Magat Dam in Ramon, Isabela, have dismissed speculations that the flooding was induced by water released from the facility.
Saturnino Tenedor, instrumentation division chief at Magat Dam, said the dam’s reservoir has reached its maximum 193.02 meters above sea level but water releases have been gradual.
“It is unfair to put the blame on us,” he said.
On Thursday morning, Tenedor reported that the dam had been releasing 1,083 cubic meters per second of water from three floodgates opened five meters wide to ease the reservoir.
In Apayao, strong rains triggered landslides that blocked roads going to and from the towns of Calanasan, Cabugao and Conner, said Xandred Anne Claveria, provincial information officer.
Claveria said the Cagayan-Calanasan Road was closed due to landslides while the Cabugao-Conner Road was also closed due to slides in the villages of Guinaang, Guimitan, Baggut and Lutuacan.
Heavy rains in Casiguran town in northern Aurora since Saturday caused rivers to overflow, flooding the town center and six nearby villages.
Casiguran Vice Mayor Roldan Roxas said more than 200 families have been evacuated to higher grounds while 50 persons have been rescued from rampaging waters. The town is at the foot of the Sierra Madre ranges and faces the Pacific Ocean. With a report from Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon
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