Agaton leaves Bohol flooded
Angeline Valencia (The Freeman) - January 4, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Weather in Bohol has returned to fair yesterday, and regular classes have resumed, after tropical depression Agaton left low-lying areas of the province flooded since Tuesday, and forced the evacuation of at least 400 familities.

When Agaton made landfall on Dinagat and Siargao Islands on Tuesday, Bohol experienced heavy rains that lasted for almost a day, slowing down only when Agaton moved southwest of Negros Oriental. However it caused flooding in some parts of Bohol.

Anthony Damalerio, head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), reported to Governor Edgar Chatto and to the Regional DRRMO — through the Office of the Civil Defense — that Bohol recorded zero casualty and zero damage. There were minimal landslides but those were not life-threatening and pre-emptive evacuations were undertaken considering the forecast on heavy rains that might trigger soil erosion.

On the floodings, Damalerio said it could not have reached that water level if it were only ordinary rainfall. The towns that experienced flooding were those identified earlier as flood-prone areas, such as Loboc and Candijay towns.

In Loboc, families in two barangays were evacuated, while in Candijay, evacuations were done in four flooded barangays, said Damalerio.

Loboc River had actually overflowed to the roads; while in Candijay, the households by the mountainside were threatened by landslides where the heavy rains brought about by Agaton prompted pre-emptive evacuation as advised by the Municipal DRRMO.

In Batuan town, five barangays conducted pre-emptive evacuation, but the evacuated families returned home before daylight yesterday, even before the relief goods reached the evacuation center, Damalerio said.

The PDRRMO also received reports of flooding in two villages of Jagna town, and in the poblacion area of Catigbian town. However, the floodwater in these areas immediately subsided when heavy rains stopped.

Damalerio attributed Bohol’s preparedness against disasters to the recent major threats such as typhoons Urduja and Vinta, as well as the past experiences with major typhoons — Queenie, Ruby and Seniang — that hit the province in the past. He said that upon the forecast of the approaching threat from Agaton, the Christmas break for the quick response teams, the responders, disaster officers and national agencies tasked on these matters was cut short.

Damalerio added that, in addition to the past experiences with disasters, the PDRRMC has been conducting continuing emergency management trainings, down to the purok level to raise awareness among the people, especially those in low-lying, flood-prone and landslide-prone areas.

The attitude of the people now is to heed to any pronouncement from their chief executives in the towns, barangay leaders, and provincial officials. “They have this attitude already that whenever there is threat to property and life, they would heed to the orders of authorities,” added Damalerio. (FREEMAN)

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