Cagayan governor appeals for help from national gov't as province hit with 'worst' floods

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Cagayan governor appeals for help from national gov't as province hit with 'worst' floods
Cagayan residents take shelter in this Nov. 14, 2020 photo on their rooftop from floods called by Gov. Manuel Mamba as the "worst" in memory.
Cagayan Provincial Information Office / Francis Jorque

MANILA, Philippines — The governor of Cagayan is appealing for help from the national government as the province is hit by what he calls the “worst” flooding in memory.

Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba said over a local government-run radio station that 24 towns and Tuguegarao City are inundated, affecting 84,257 people.

“We are trying to get all kinds of help that we can get,” Mamba said. “Please help us out in the relief and rescue operations.”

Mamba asked the national government to provide them with air assets so that they can provide relief goods and rescue people stranded in their homes due to the floods brought by Typhoon Ulysses (international name: Vamco).

He said he has coordinated with the military’s Northern Luzon Command for the deployment of air assets.

He is also appealing to the National Irrigation Administration to decrease or completely stop the release of water from the Magat Dam, which has caused widespread flooding in Cagayan and Isabela.

He is also asking the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines to temporarily switch off their power lines to avoid more people from being electrocuted. By his count over radio dzBB, five people, including one rescuer, have been shocked by the power lines leading to the deaths of three of them.

Four more people have died due to landslides and two more died due to drowning, according to Mamba.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), 32 people have died, 15 of whom came from the Cagayan Valley region. Six were from Calabarzon, five were from Bicol region, and six from the Cordilleras.


Cagayan was not directly in the path of Ulysses, but NDRRMC spokesperson Mark Timbal said the intense flooding experienced by the province is the result of “accumulated effects” of the back-to-back typhoons in the past three weeks.

“The rainwater poured on the highlands and had gone down to the plains. The Magat Dam was also filled up and its releases had added to the water supply,” Timbal told reporters in a text message.

Mamba said he has written to the provincial council requesting that they declare a state of calamity in Cagayan to allow the local government to dip into quick response funds and impose price controls on basic commodities.

Calls for help dominated social media with the hashtags #CagayanNeedsHelp and #IsabelaNeedsHelp trending on Twitter until Saturday morning.

Amid this clamoring from netizens, the NDRRMC said additional rescue teams were deployed by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Cagayan and air assets have been prepared to conduct aerial inspections and support search, rescue and relief operations.

The NDRRMC also said that several personnel from the PCG, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Fire Protection have been deployed to respond to the disaster.

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