At least 11 people were killed, and seven others were missing, all in Luzon, after heavy rain across the Philippines flooded villages and triggered landslides, authorities said Tuesday.
Severe Tropical Storm Maring (international name Kompasu) drenched swathes of the most populous island of Luzon on Monday as it swept across the archipelago nation towards the South China Sea.
Four people—three of them children–were killed in landslides in the landlocked mountainous province of Benguet, and one person drowned in the coastal province of Cagayan, the national disaster agency said.
“Eleven municipalities were flooded but it subsided this morning,” Cagayan provincial information officer Rogelio Sending said.
Major highways and bridges were flooded, he said, but the water was retreating Tuesday.
The storm intensified the southwest monsoon, sparking a flash flood in a village in the western island province of Palawan, leaving four people dead and the same number missing.
“Around seven to eight barangays are still flooded… due to clogged drainage or lack of drainage,” said Earl Timbancaya, a disaster officer in the city of Puerto Princesa on Palawan. “But it’s subsiding now.”
The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 storms and typhoons every year, which typically wipe out harvests, homes, and infrastructure in already impoverished areas.
Because a warmer atmosphere holds more water, climate change increases the risk and intensity of flooding from extreme rainfall.
Malacañang on Tuesday urged the public to take precautionary measures as Maring was expected to bring heavy rainfall over parts of Luzon.
“We ask the public to continue to take precautionary measures, observe minimum public health standards, and cooperate with their respective local authorities in case of an evacuation,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a press statement.
Roque said local government units (LGUs) are in close coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine Coast Guard, the Philippine National Police, and the Bureau of Fire Protection to ensure immediate response operations in affected areas.
Roque noted that around 465 families or 1,585 individuals in Cagayan Valley and Eastern Visayas had already been preemptively evacuated as of 6 a.m. Monday.
Citing a report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Roque said power and water supply restoration, as well as clearing operations of roads, are underway in areas battered by Maring.
He added that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has over P128 million in standby funds and about 373,737 available family food packs worth more than P219 million since Sunday.
Maring was last spotted 230 kilometers west of Calayan, Cagayan, according to the 8 a.m. weather bulletin released by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
Maring packs maximum sustained winds of up to 100 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gusts of up to 125 kph.
Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) Signal No. 2 is raised over Batanes, Cagayan including the Babuyan Islands, the northern portion of Isabela (Palanan, Divilacan, Maconacon, Ilagan City, Tumauini, Cabagan, San Pablo, Santa Maria, Santo Tomas, Delfin Albano, Quirino, Gamu, Roxas, Mallig, Quezon), Apayao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Abra, Ilocos Norte, and Ilocos Sur.
TCWS Signal No. 1 is hoisted over the rest of Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Ifugao, Benguet, La Union, Pangasinan, Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Zambales, Pampanga, Bulacan, the northern portion of Bataan (Samal, Morong, Dinalupihan, Abucay, Orani, Hermosa), and the northern portion of Quezon (General Nakar, Infanta) including Polillo Islands.
Maring is expected to bring heavy to intense rains over Ilocos Region, Benguet, Ifugao, Abra, and Mountain Province.
Moderate to heavy rains may prevail over Zambales, Bataan, Tarlac, and the rest of the Cordillera Administrative Region.
Light to moderate, with at times heavy rains, may also be experienced over Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley, and the rest of Central Luzon.
Flash floods and rain-induced landslides are possible, especially in areas that are highly or very highly susceptible to these hazards.
The Department of Public Works and Highways said that 15 national roads in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley and Central Visayas region were closed to traffic due to heavy flooding, landslides, mudslides, and damaged bridges brought by Tropical Storm Maring and Tropical Depression Nando.
The DPWH Bureau of Maintenance identified the affected sections in CAR as Kennon Road, in Tuba, Benguet due to fallen trees and debris flow; Baguio- Bontoc Road, in Caliking, Half Tunnel in Paoay, and in Cattubo, Atok, Benguet.
Some areas in Luzon are still under Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) even if Severe Tropical Storm (STS) Maring already exited the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR), a weather forecaster said Tuesday noon.
“As of 11 a.m., ‘Maring’ is already outside PAR,” Ariel Rojas of PAGASA said.
It was last tracked 345 kilometers west of Calayan, Cagayan, moving westward at 20 kph. It has maintained its strength, packing maximum sustained winds of 100 kph near the center, gustiness of up to 125 kph.
Damaging gale to storm-force winds will prevail in areas under TCWS No. 2: Batanes, Cagayan including Babuyan Islands, the northern portion of Isabela (Palanan, Divilacan, Maconacon, Ilagan City, Tumauini, Cabagan, San Pablo, Santa Maria, Santo Tomas, Delfin Albano, Quirino, Gamu, Roxas, Mallig, Quezon), Apayao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Abra, Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur.
TCWS No. 1, on the other hand, has been hoisted over the rest of Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Ifugao, Benguet, La Union, Pangasinan, Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Zambales, Pampanga, Bulacan, the northern portion of Bataan (Samal, Morong, Dinalupihan, Abucay, Orani, Hermosa), and the northern portion of Quezon (General Nakar, Infanta) including Polillo Islands.
Strong winds will continue to prevail over these areas.
Rojas said that since Maring is enhancing the southwest monsoon, Western Visayas, Mimaropa, and Calabarzon will experience monsoon rains.
The enhanced southwest monsoon will also cause gusty conditions reaching strong to gale-force in strength over Visayas, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Camiguin, Zamboanga del Norte, and the rest of Luzon in the next 24 hours.
Heavy to intense rainfall will also continue over Ilocos Region, Benguet, Ifugao, Abra, and Mountain Province.
Moderate to heavy rainfall is expected over Zambales, Bataan, Tarlac, and the rest of the Cordillera Administrative Region. Likewise, light to moderate, with at times heavy rains are likely over Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley, and the rest of Central Luzon.
Rough to high seas will continue to prevail over the seaboards of areas where TCWS No. 2 and 1 are in effect. These conditions are risky for all types of sea vessels. With AFP