Manila: Heavy rains in the Philippines — brought about by successive tropical depressions over the last two weeks — have caused dams and waterways in Northern and Central Luzon, as well as Metro Manila to overflow, officials say.
Tropical storm Josie entered the country on Saturday, but the effects of seasonal easterly monsoons (known in Filipino as “Habagat”) and two earlier weather disturbances over the same areas, named “Inday” and “Henry” (international names: Ampil and Son-Tinh), further worsened flooding.
The total number of people affected by the cyclones Henry, Inday and now Josie has reached 158,509 families or 728,003 individuals residing in 585 villages in seven regions according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
In Antique, Western Visayas region, continuous rains caused a landslide, killing two siblings — six-year-old Rosalia and her three year-old brother, Andrew Agapito.
Their mother, Tessie Agapito, survived the incident with injuries.
The state weather bureau, Pagasa, said Josie was expected to leave the Philippines late on Sunday, or early on Monday, as it makes its way over the Bashi Channel, but monsoon rains would continue to affect large areas of Luzon as well as portions of the Visayas.
“Residents of the affected areas, especially those living near river channels, in low-lying areas and in mountainous areas are advised to take appropriate actions against possible flooding and landslide, coordinate with local disaster risk reduction and management offices,” the NDRRMC said.
The severe weather, prompted the flag carrier, Philippine Airlines to advise passengers to check in at the airport early and expect delays.
Metro Manila continued to experience flooding as roadways and highways are under several inches of water.
In Makati City, major roads experienced flooding in some parts, particularly in Buendia, in the main business district.
In Marikina City, officials urged residents living in hazard areas to prepare for forcible evacuation as waters in the Marikina River rose to dangerous levels anew because of the rain.
Officials said the Angat and Bustos Dam in Central Luzon continued to release water, aggravating the flooding situation in the areas of Meycauayan, Marilao and Calumpit in Bulacan.
Also in Central Luzon, the city council of Balanga in Bataan mobilised village officials for possible evacuation of residents to safer grounds as the local council placed the city under a state of calamity.
The main Roman Highway in Balanga City area was impassable to all types of vehicle according to local disaster officials.
In Pangasinan, Avenix Arenas, spokesperson of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) was quoted in the state-run Philippine News Agency as saying that local government units of Dagupan City, San Carlos City, Sta. Barbara, Bugallon, Mangatarem and Calasiao in this province have declared a state of calamity in their localities due to flooding.