Northern Luzon floods leave 11 dead, 2 hurt, 3 missing

- Charlie Lagasca, Jaime Laude -

MANILA, Philippines - The death toll in the widespread flooding and landslides brought about by heavy rains in Northern Luzon, has risen to 11 dead with three persons still missing and two injured, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported yesterday.

Of these fatalities three of them died from drowning while the rest were buried alive in a series of landslides that swallowed their houses.

Eight of the victims came from Isabela, one from Cagayan, two from Aurora in Central Luzon and one in Kalinga.

The two injured were from Kalinga while the three missing came from Cagayan with one, and Isabela, two.

On the other hand, a total of 30,018 families or 144,458 persons from the 302 affected barangays have been displaced by the widespread flooding in some low-lying areas, are even higher than bungalow houses.

As of yesterday, Magat Dam continued to release excess water which has already reached more than its spilling level of 190 meters.

NDRRMC executive director and retired Army Gen. Benito Ramos also cautioned travelers in Cagayan Valley this weekend to carefully plan their trip as nine roads and six bridges are still close to traffic either due to the severe flooding, or were totally washed out.

In Isabela, the Cabagan-Sta. Maria overflow bridge, the Ilagan-Bigao-Palanan Road are closed to traffic at Kilometer 451 due to flooding and mudslide while in Central Luzon, a portion of the Baler-Casiguran Road in Barangay Ditawin, Dinalugan, is also closed to traffic also due to a landslide.

Seven major roads in the Codillera Administration Region (CAR) remain unpassabel to light and heavy vehicles due to the dozens of landslides.

Ramos said traffic in the Claveria-Calanasan Road in Kalinga is expected to be reopened today while the Balbalan-Pinukpul Road remained closed for the ongoing road clearing operation.

Moreover, Ramos said that a total of P148.7 million in initial assistance like food and non-food items from the national and local governments have already been delivered for distribution to the flood and landslide victims.

Crops destroyed

Even as Cagayan Valley still reels from the P4 billion-worth of crop and infrastructure damage caused by super typhoon Juan, crop damage from ongoing floods here has already hit some P400 million, reports said yesterday.

Of this, P193 million crop damage had been reported in Isabela, the country’s leading rice and corn-producing province, and approximately P200 million in Cagayan, all brought about by the floods from constant heavy rains.

“The ongoing floods have taken whatever the typhoon was not able to take away,” said Isabela Gov. Faustino Dy III.

Dy said evacuation of residents in low-lying areas as well as along river banks continue as the floods and rains caused by a tail of a cold front have not yet receded.

At least 200 villages in Cagayan and Isabela remain flooded with more than 50,000 families affected from the two provinces.

Isabela’s provincial social welfare office Lucila Ambatali said that the floods, spawned by almost a week of non-stop rains, also affected or displaced 43,045 families or some 133,000 individuals in the province.

Among the Isabela towns affected were San Mariano, Benito Soliven, Santo Tomas, Cabagan, San Pablo, Tumauini, Reina Mercedes, Alicia, Gamu, Delfin Albano, Echague and the capital town of Ilagan. 

Ilagan and Tuguegarao City, capital of Cagayan, were the worst flood-hit areas in the region as almost of their more than 120 barangays remain flooded.      

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