‘Maring’ floods, halts city

TYPICAL of the Filipinos’ happy disposition amid crisis and calamities, these kids have fun in the rain brought about by tropical depression Maring at the breakwater area of Fort San Pedro in Iloilo City, Sept 12, 2017. (Courtesy of Tara Yap)

INCESSANT rains and flooding brought by Tropical Depression “Maring” affected 12 barangays in Iloilo City, resulting in forced evacuation of almost 500 persons from flood-prone areas, cancellation of classes in all levels, early dismissal of City Hall and Capitol workers on Sept. 12, 2017.

Acting City Mayor Joe Espinosa III ordered the cancellation of classes in preschool and elementary in both private and public schools around 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Suspension of classes in junior and senior high schools were left to the discretion of principals, presidents and schools heads.

But with the continuous rains, Espinosa was forced to cancel classes in high schools and colleges, both public and private, at around 11:40 a.m.

Information from the Iloilo City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) indicated that as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, 157 families (492 persons) from 11 barangays were evacuated due to flooding.

City Administrator Hernando Galvez and CDRRMO head Donna Magno activated the 24-hour Operation Center at the City Hall Penthouse to monitor the weather and situation in the city amid heavy rains.

The Iloilo City Council activated the Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis team to assess if there is a need to place the city under state of calamity.



Floods were reported in the following areas as of 2:30 p.m. yesterday: LaPaz Plaza, and Barangays Sinikway, Lapuz; Burgos, Divinagracia and Mabini in Lapaz; Calubihan, Tabuc Suba and Dungon B in Jaro; Navais and Onate in Mandurriao; Tanza Timawa II and Bonifacio Tanza in City Proper; and San Antonio in Molo.

The evacuated families are temporarily staying in their respective barangays halls, which are also the designated evacuation centers.

Espinosa ordered the release of relief goods while the Philippine Red Cross provided hot meals to the evacuees.

The Bureau of Fire Protection-Iloilo City, PNP, City Engineer’s Office, Department of Public Works and Highways, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and volunteer groups conducted clearing and declogging of drainage systems, particularly in Navais, where water lilies clogged the drainage.

Meanwhile, trucks were also deployed to ferry stranded passengers.

As of 4 p.m., the PCG cancelled the trips of pumpboats plying Iloilo City-Guimaras via Ortiz and Parola at least thrice due to zero visibility and squall (pugada), according to PCG Iloilo chief Ramil Palabrica.

The pumpboats were only allowed to carry 75 percent of their regular passenger capacity.

The PCG also deployed rubber boats in flooded areas for easier evacuation if needed.

According to City Engineer’s Office, at least 41 areas are at high risk of flooding in case the downpour continues until evening – PHHC, Guzman, Hibao-an Norte, Onate De Leon, Airport, Navais, Bakhaw, and Bolilao in Mandurriao; Sinikway in Lapuz; North Fundidor, East Baluarte, San Antonio, Taal, San Pedro, and Katilingban in Molo; Taytay Zone II, Dungon A, Calubihan, Lanit in Jaro; Lopez Jaena Sur, Burgos-Mabini, Baldoza, Divinagracia, Magdalo and Loboc in Lapaz; Hiprodomo, Liberation, Flores, Gloria, San Jose, Rizal Pala-Pala II, Timaza Zone II, and Nonoy in City Proper; among others.

The Iloilo City OpCen activated its hotlines: 033337-4327 and 09391146270 to assist the public.

City Hall and Iloilo Provincial Capital employees were sent home early on orders of Espinosa and Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr., respectively.

In Guimaras, Governor Samuel Gumarin, chairperson of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), ordered the suspension of classes in all public and private schools for preschool to Grade 12 due to torrential rain and strong gusty wind.

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