Residents flee homes after Magat Dam releases water anew

Published November 28, 2020, 3:15 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

Still haunted by the massive inundation during typhoon “Ulysses” two weeks ago, dozens of families in Tuguegarao City were again forced to evacuate after the Magat Dam discharged excess water yesterday, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) bared.

Magat Dam (NIA-MARIIS-DRD-Flood Forecasting and Warning System Dam Operation / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

In an advisory, OCD spokesperson Mark Timbal said residents in low-lying areas in Barangay Linao and Barangay Annafunan were pre-emptively evacuated by local authorities in view of the water discharge warning from Magat Dam.

The National Irrigation Administration-Magat River Integrated Irrigation System (NIA-MARIIS) Dam and Reservoir Division issued a warning for discharge at 5 a.m. due to continuous rains from the current low-pressure area (LPA) affecting the region.

As of 2 p.m., the NIA-MARIIS said the water level at Magat Dam reached 189.09 meters above sea level (MASL). Two spillways gates were opened to avoid the dam from reaching its 193 MASL spilling level.

Timbal said an initial warning was announced by the NIA-MARIIS last Friday to inform the residents of precautionary measures that would be taken in preparation for the effects of the continuous rainfall.

“According to Cagayan Valley Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC 2), residents of Barangays Linao and Annafunan of Tuguegarao City have been evacuated as a precautionary measure. Residents cooperated with local authorities, being already accustomed to these precautionary activities, and are now being housed in designated core shelters,” Timbal said.

The civil defense official noted that local government officials were monitoring the river levels in several areas in Cagayan and Isabela to conduct possible evacuation of more people if the rains persist.

Aside from Tuguegarao City, these areas were Enrile, Solana, Amulung, Alcala, Gattaran, Lasam, Lal-lo, Camalaniugan, and Aparri in Cagayan; and Ilagan City, Tumauini, Delfin Albano, Cabagan, Sto. Tomas, Sta. Maria, and San Pablo in Isabela.

Twenty-four persons were killed while more than 2,000 were evacuated in Cagayan Valley when Ulysses hit the region two weeks ago.

The rains brought by the storm caused massive flooding which was worsened by the discharge of excess water from the Magat Dam.