Magat releases water anew; residents evacuate homes

Raymond Catindig, Romina Cabrera (The Philippine Star) - November 29, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Residents of low-lying areas in Cagayan were preemptively evacuated yesterday as water was released from Magat Dam anew due to continuous rains.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said more than 300 people were evacuated in Tuguegarao City and San Mateo town.

The National Irrigation Administration- Magat River Integrated Irrigation System said two spillways were opened so that water in the dam would not reach its spilling level.

The water level was recorded at 189.0 meters at 4 p.m. yesterday. The spilling level is 193 meters.

The tail-end of a cold front and the northeast monsoon brought rains over northern Luzon yesterday.

Local government units in Cagayan and Isabela were ordered to monitor the water level in rivers and implement precautionary measures.

Floodwaters in Barangay Annafunan East, were knee deep, according to Sangguniang Kabataan chairman Gerald Valdez.

The Cagayan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said portions of Barangay Logac, Lasam road to Barangay Gagabutan in Rizal town and the stretch of the road in Isla Berde in Barangay Centro 2, also in Lasam, were impassable.

The PDRRMO said three overflow bridges in Baggao were also submerged in floodwaters.

The NDRRMC approved the creation of a dam oversight committee following widespread flooding in Cagayan Valley at the height of Typhoon Ulysses.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said swollen tributaries of Cagayan River and not the release of water from Magat Dam was the main cause of massive flooding in Cagayan and Isabela.

PAGASA also maintained that all protocols were followed in the release of water from the dam.

The state weather bureau stressed the need to review dam protocols to delineate the roles and responsibilities of concerned agencies on dam management and information dissemination.

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