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Water lilies blamed for Pampanga floods, too

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Philippines – Just like in Cotabato City, water hyacinths have also been blamed for the severe flooding in this city and 18 towns, which has prompted the provincial government to declare a state of calamity.

In Tarlac, five towns – Concepcion, La Paz, Camiling, San Clemente and Paniqui – were also placed under a state of calamity due to heavy flooding.

Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda said huge volumes of water hyacinths or water lilies coming from Nueva Ecija clog waterways in the province, slowing down the flow of floodwaters toward Manila Bay.

Pineda said the flooding caused by tropical storm “Falcon” over the weekend was unexpected, as Pampanga was not directly hit by the weather disturbance.

Pineda said no less than P300 million worth of infrastructure and agricultural products might have been damaged by the floods, which collapsed dikes along the Pampanga River and other channels.

Floodwaters in some areas significantly subsided yesterday, but provincial administrator Andres Pangilinan Jr. said that at the height of the flooding last Sunday, with floodwaters as high as one to five feet, 88,185 families or 290,818 people were affected.

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Pangilinan said the widespread flooding “paralyzed” economic activities in this city and the different towns as major roads were rendered impassable to light vehicles.

Noting unusual weather patterns worldwide, Pineda said she is set to meet with officials of the Department of Education to discuss the possibility of relocating schools to areas not prone to flooding.

“We cannot go on repairing school buildings every year because every rainy season, they get damaged by floods. We must move these schools to safer grounds, so we also prevent the education of our kids from being disrupted over long periods by floods,” she said.   – Ding Cervantes, Ric Sapnu

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