Rescue operations are on-going for the victims of the massive flooding in Luzon. - Photo by Philippine Daily Inquirer
Rescue operations are on-going for the victims of the massive flooding in Luzon. – Photo by Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, PHILIPPINES— Typhoon “Odette” (internationally known as Usagi) might have left the country for China over the weekend and completely lost its hold on the Habagat, but another storm outside the country and bound for Japan is boosting the Habagat, thus making the monsoon rains stronger dumping heavy rainfall over Luzon, the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) said.

According to the Philippine Atmospheric, and Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), “Pabuk” has been pulling at the Habagat, which is expected to spawn rains until Wednesday.

It also said the storm is well outside the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR), in the far northeast of the country over the Pacific Ocean.

Although no low pressure area is expected to enter the country anytime soon, the heavy monsoon rains worsened by Odette and Pabuk, triggered cascading floods and landslides that killed at least 18 people; 4 people are reportedly missing, and many residents stranded on their rooftops.

In the most severely affected area—the Zambales province, 18 people were reported dead.

The provincial police had identified only six of the fatalities from the landslide, namely Doray Cuanan, 5; Danilo Cuanan, 43; Ryan Ejucardas, 7; Jay Ar Ejucardas, 4; Kean Ejucardas, 5; and a certain Brian, a worker of a shipyard in Subic, Zambales Vice Gov. Ramon Lacbain II reported.

Furthermore, retired principal Herminigilda Escobar Macaraeg, was swept by a strong river current in Gordon Heights at 3:30 a.m., OCD report said. Her body was found at 2 p.m.

Another drowning case was also reported in a river in Calamba City, Laguna on Sunday. The victim was identified as Eugenio Adao.

In Occidental Mindoro, 13-year old Emar Pintazon has been missing since Saturday.

Elyssa Villareal, a 7-year old girl drowned in a flooded Villa Arevalo District in Iloilo City. Her body was recovered at around 9:30 a.m. on Monday. She was reported missing on Sunday, said Supervising Administrative Officer Mario Mahinay of the City Social Welfare and Development Office.

ENHANCED MONSOON RAINS SUBMERGED ZAMBALES AND NEIGHBORING PROVINCES

Senior weather forecaster Jori Loiz noted that Bataan and Zambales received the biggest amount of rainfall on Sunday to Monday morning, emphasizing that from 9 to 10 am on Monday, the amount of rainfall registered in Subic Bay, Zambales was at 77 millimeters.

Based on PAGASA’s precipitation chart, 31 mm per hour to 50 mm per hour is already considered as torrential.

“The amount of rainfall registered in Subic, Zambales, was way beyond that,” Loiz said.

Furthermore, in Bataan province, floodwaters in three coatal villages in the capital city of Balanga rose to 3 feet.

Floodwaters at the Layac junction and Barangay Sta. Isabel road in Dinalupihan rose to more than 3 feet, making roads impassable to light vehicles.

In Hermosa, five villages were submerged to a 4-feet deep floodwaters leading to the suspension of classes on all levels in the province.

In Laguna, the water level at Laguna de Bay was recorded at 12.9 meters, or 0.30 meters higher than the critical level, as of 5 p.m. on Monday, according to the reports of Laguna Lake Development Authority resident hydrologist Emil Hernandez.

Meanwhile, towns and cities of San Pedro, Binan, Canuyao, Calamba, Bay, Sta. Cruz, Mabitac, Siniloan, Kalayaan and Famy in Laguna were submerged in ankle-to-waist-deep floods, according to Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council Director Vicente Tomazar.

Most parts of Noveleta town in Cavite were in knee- to chest-deep floodwaters, a resident, Xyzy Ybañez, said. Flood also hit three towns— Abra de Ilog, Sablayan and Mamburao—in Occidental Mindoro.

In Batangas, three landslides occurred in Talisay town on Friday, damaging two houses and a public high school building.

MMDA MOBILIZES AROUND METRO MANILA

As heavy rainfall continued to hit the region, more than 300 workers were mobilized in Metro Manila by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Monday for rescue and declogging operations.

MMDA organized rescue teams from the agency’s Road Emergency Group (REG), Sidewalk Clearing Operations Group (SCOG), Flood Control and Sewage Management Office (FCSMO), and Public Safety Division (PSD).

“We have also deployed heavy equipment and mobile water pumps to facilitate the immediate receding of floods as well as provided ‘Libreng Sakay’ operations to passengers along Pasay Taft, España in Manila, and Sucat in Parañaque,” MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said.

He added that MMDA personnel will provide all the necessary assistance they can to affected areas.

MMDA RESPONDS TO ZAMBALES’ URGENT CALL

MMDA sent two elite teams to Subic, Zambales to help in ongoing rescue operations, especially in Wawandue where at least four persons were killed in a landslide earlier today.

Chairman Tolentino sent 20 members from the PSD and Rescue Battalion to respond to an urgent call for help from Subic Mayor Jay Khonghun, on behalf of its residents on the flooded villages.

Tolentino said the two MMDA teams “will be coordinating with the municipal and provincial government.”

Olongapo City was placed under a state of calamity on Monday.

A DESPERATE CALL FOR HELP

Upon the rising of floodwaters in Zambales region, philanthropists reach out to victims of the disaster.

Moreover, a Church sector and the government extended help.

“We are doing the rescue needed. The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and members of Iglesia ni Cristo are helping. All barangays are actively participating in the rescue operation. SM is also helping,” city administrator Mamerto Malabute said.

He said some evacuation centers in the city were also flooded.

“We need clothes, food and drinking water,” he added.

Written by:

Mary Sarah Inciso Gabornes
ABCom Intern/ Leyte Normal University