Thousands affected by floods in W. Visayas, Bicol

Published January 10, 2021, 2:52 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The public has been urged to take precautionary measures as thousands of families were affected by flooding and landslides in Western Visayas (Region 6) and Bicol (Region 5) due to the effects of a seasonal weather system, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Sunday.


A report from the regional DRRM office in Western Visayas (RDRRMC-6) said 7,640 families composed of 37,830 individuals have been impacted by moderate to heavy rains caused by the tail-end of a frontal system (TEFS).

In Victorias City, Negros Occidental, around 830 families were pre-emptively evacuated due to the threats of flashfloods.

Minor floodings were also reported in some areas in Bacolod City as well as in Bang-ong Barrio and Daan Barrio in Manapla town; and in Brgy. Jonob-jonob, Escalante City both in Negros Occidental.

The report said that the provincial DRRM office of Negros Occidental has dispatched response teams and vehicles for rescue efforts in affected areas. Policemen were also deployed for search and rescue efforts, and to secure the evacuation centers.

Gremil Naz, public information officer of the Office of Civil Defense in Bicol (OCD-5), said 61 areas in Camarines Sur and Sorsogon were flooded. Eight other areas were affected by landslides in Catanduanes although it has yet to be determined if there were any casualties.

“Medyo makulimlim po na may panaka-nakang ulan pero ang forecast naman po sa atin ng Pagasa ay baka tuloy-tuloy po ang pag ulan (It’s still cloudy here with periodic rains but the Pagasa [Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration] forecasted that the rains will continue),” Naz said in a radio interview over dzBB.

“Ito pong mga flooding incidents po na nai-report po sa amin, karamihan po dito mga spillway pong nag-o-overflow. Pero ‘yung mga areas naman po na kung saan meron po tayong tinututukan lalo na po sa Camarines Sur ay naka-evacuate naman po ang mga pamilya (The flooding incidents reported to us were due to the overflowed spillways. But the families in the areas we are monitoring, especially in Camarines Sur, have already evacuated),” he added.

Naz assured that the minimum health standards were being observed in evacuation centers to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the evacuees.

OCD-Bicol official said three to five families are being housed in a single room to accommodate all the evacuues. Most of those who are staying at the same room are relatives.

OCD-Bicol has also coordinated with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology (Phivolcs) to monitor possible incidents of lahar flow, which killed at least five persons in Albay during the devastation of super typhoon Rolly in October 2020.

“Patuloy po kaming nagmo-monitor kung mayroon pong lahar flow pero ngayon po wala naman pong reported (We are continuously monitoring if there are incidents of lahar flow but as of now, we have not received any report),” Naz said.

Naz urged residents in affected areas to heed the advice of local government authorities and DRRM officials to keep them safe from the effects of the weather system.

“Kapag tayo po ay pinapa-evacuate ay sumunod po tayo. Hindi naman po ito nakaka-cause ng masama sa inyo. Para naman ito sa inyong kaligtasan (If we are told to evacuate, let us follow. This is not meant to harm you. This is for your own safety),” he noted.