“It was the worst flooding since 1975. Even the highways… were all underwater. You could not even discern where Cagayan is. You have the Sierra Madre mountains on one side, the Cordillera Mountains on the other, and there were floodwaters everywhere. You could only see rooftops here and there.”
This was how Gov. Manuel Mamba described the catastrophic deluge in Cagayan this month, the worst in almost half a century, triggered by the deadliest typhoon to hit the country this year that left in its wake 73 dead, about 19 others missing, and some 3.8 million people displaced across Luzon.
Of the province's 28 towns, 24 were inundated when Typhoon Ulysses barreled across Luzon in the second week of November. Some 216 barangays along the Cagayan River, Mamba said, were devastated by heavy floods.
In neighboring Isabela, massive floods and landslides wreaked havoc in the province that is the top producer of corn and monggo and has the second-highest volume of rice production nationwide. Ulysses also displaced more than 140,000 residents from 322 barangays.
Mamba said no one except the successive typhoons that caused the Cagayan River to swell and overflow was to blame for the massive flooding.