Still reeling from the devastating effects of the magnitude 7.0 earthquake last month, hundreds of residents in Northern Luzon evacuated anew due to flooding and landslides caused by Severe Tropical Storm “Florita,” the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Tuesday, August 23.
Based on the latest tally of NDRRMC, at least 180 families or 543 individuals were pre-emptively evacuated in Cagayan Valley (Region 2) and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) as Florita dumped heavy rains that flooded 18 areas and caused three rain-induced landslides.
Specifically, the evacuees came from Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya; Baggao, Cagayan; Bucay, Malibcong, San Quintin, and Villaviciosa in Abra; and Barlig, Besao, and Sadanga in Mountain Province.
“Atin pong tinututukan ang mga areas na landslide-prone at flood-prone dito po sa area na tatahakin ng bagyo sa Northern Luzon. A lot of those areas na binabagyo ngayon ay niyanig nitong nakalipas na Abra earthquake at mataas po ang tsansa ng pagguho ng lupa sa mga areas na ‘yan lalo na po sa kabundukan (We are monitoring landslide-prone and flood-prone areas along the typhoon's track in Northern Luzon. A lot of those areas were rocked by the Abra earthquake and there is a high chance of landslides occuring especially in mountainous areas),” NDRRMC spokesperson Mark Timbal said in a Laging Handa interview.
The July 27 earthquake in Abra killed 11 people and injured more than 600 others. Combined infrastructure and agricultural damages were pegged at P1.8 billion.
As such, Rimbal reminded local DRRM councils and local government units (LGUs) to be prompt in conducting pre-emptive evacuation, inventory of relief items, and preparation of search and rescue (SAR) teams and road clearing equipment and personnel so these can immediately be deployed when the need arises.
The NDRRMC spokesperson said that the Council has prepositioned 480,000 units of family food packs for the affected individuals while a standby fund amounting to P800 million was readily available for use.
The NDRRMC has yet to receive any report of casualty from the ground.
However, there were three rain-induced landslides in Bagulin, La Union; and in two portions of Daang Maharlika Road in Ligao City and Guinobatan, both in Albay.
Flooding was also recorded in 18 areas in Calasiao, Pangasinan; Legazpi City, Albay; and Caramoan, Camarines Sur.
There were 11 roads and one bridge initially rendered not passable to motorists due to flooding and landslides. These were in Cagayan, Albay, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province. As of writing, eight roads were already cleared and opened to the public.
Meanwhile, suspension of classes in 162 cities and municipalities and suspension of work in 60 cities and municipalities were recorded in Ilocos (Region 1), Cagayan Valley (Region 2), Central Luzon (Region 3), Bicol (Region 5), and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
Sea trips were also suspended while fishermen were barred to sail in the eastern seaboard and northern portion of the country due to the typhoon.
Timbal also reminded local health units in the affected areas to observe Covid-19 protocols in the evacuation centers to prevent the spread of the contagious disease.
“Maulan po tapos may binabantayan tayong sakit kasabay ng usual na mga sakit like ubo, sibon at pagsakit ng tiyan. Lahat ito ay inaagapan ng ating LGUs at camp managers (We know that it’s rainy season and we are monitoring disease along with other illnesses with the same symptoms such as cough, colds, and stomach ache. All of these are being addressed by our LGUs and camp managers),” he assured the public.