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Floods paralyze Metro

12 provinces submerged; 3 dead TROPICAL storm Maring—international name Trami—punished a wide area of Luzon Monday, flooding large areas including agricultural tracts, and forcing the closure of government offices and the suspension of classes in Metro Manila and 12 provinces.
Sucat Road in Parañaque was passable only to trucks on Monday as a result of the continuing rain. BOBBY CABRERA Sucat Road in Parañaque was passable only to trucks on Monday as a result of the continuing rain. BOBBY CABRERA
Three people were reported killed and three were missing, rescue officials said. In Metro Manila, where low-lying streets including those around the University belt were submerged in knee-deep waters. At least 5,000 people were moved to higher ground. Data from the Social Welfare Department showed at least 542 families were moved to some 18 evacuation centers set up in Mandaluyong, Marikina, Manila, San Juan, Makati and Quezon City. Schools, government offices, banks and the stock exchange closed as a red alert was raised in the morning, the highest level of a warning system in which widespread floods were predicted. “We are trying to save whatever we can but it was so sudden,” J.R. Pascual, a father of four, said as he tried to take the most important possessions from his home in a middle-class district of Cavite that was flooded up to his waist. “My neighbor wasn’t even able to get his car out.” Roads from Cavite and other southern areas into the city were impassable, while some motorists who tried to get through the flooded streets were forced to abandon their cars.
A worker at the La Mesa Dam shows the critical water elevation at the reservoir. MANNY PALMERO A worker at the La Mesa Dam shows the critical water elevation at the reservoir. MANNY PALMERO
Footage on ABS-CBN television showed people in nearby shanty town communities standing on their corrugated iron roofs, as fast-moving water swept through the windows of their homes. By early afternoon, the rain had eased and the red alert was lowered for the capital. Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa said he did not expect a major disaster. “Compared to other calamities, this is not of the same gravity as the rest. I hope this will be done by tomorrow,” Ochoa told a nationally televised government disaster briefing. Nevertheless, thousands of people were believed to be sheltering in evacuation centers or trapped on rooftops while waiting for the water to subside. Weather forecasters also said more rain was expected to hit Manila in the early evening, while farming towns and mountainous areas reaching hundreds of kilometers to the north on the main island of Luzon were enduring heavier storms. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said some northern regions were experiencing floods of 1.2 meters (four feet) following persistent rain that began at the weekend. The council said a total of 19,000 families or 94,246 persons were affected by the widespread flooding in the Ilocos, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and Cordillera regions and Metro Manila.
The water at the Luna-Bangar national road in La Union was chest-deep and passable only to watercraft. CHRISTINE JUNIO The water at the Luna-Bangar national road in La Union was chest-deep and passable only to watercraft. CHRISTINE JUNIO
Weathermen said Maring, the 13th weather disturbance to enter the Philippines this year, will intensify the bad weather over the country’s main island of Luzon, which was still reeling from the effects of typhoon Labuyo, which exited the area a few days earlier. The weather bureau said rains would continue until Wednesday due to the southwest monsoon, even as relief and rescuer operations shifted to high gear in towns around Metro Manila due to the rampaging floodwaters. Laguna and Cavite provinces were placed under a state of calamity Monday after Maring brought heavy flooding and torrential rains to most parts of the provinces. Laguna Gov. Emilio Ramon Ejercito said in a radio interview the calamity wrought by the monsoon rains in the province was “Ondoy and Habagat combined.” Ejercito appealed to the Defense and Social Welfare departments to send amphibious trucks and relie1, both food and non-food. At least one town, Santa Rosa, had 15 of its 18 barangays submerged by heavy flooding.
Residents wade through a flooded street in Cavite, one of the hardest hit by the rain. AFP Residents wade through a flooded street in Cavite, one of the hardest hit by the rain. AFP
In Manila, President Benigno Aquino III said government agencies and local government units were prepared to respond to disasters even before the onslaught of the enhanced monsoon being pulled by Maring, which resulted in strong rains and heavy flooding in Luzon. Aquino also expressed satisfaction that the concerned government agencies and local governments were ready to respond to disasters. Across Luzon, at least four dams have dumped excess water since Sunday evening because of the non-stop rains, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said. Before sundown Sunday, Magat Dam in Cagayan opened one gate at two meters as its water levels reached 191.45 meters, nearing its spilling level of 193.00 meters. Ipo Dam in Bulacan also opened two gates as its water levels reached 100.74 meters, well above its spilling level of 100.20 meters. PAGASA said Binga and Ambuklao dams also opened their gates. La Mesa Dam in Quezon City, which has a spilling level of 80.15 meters, was already at 79.25 meters. In the capital, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said floodwaters reached gutter level in front of the University of Santo Tomas on España Boulevard past 7:30 p.m. Sunday, while 7 inches to 8 inches of floodwaters were reported on E. Rodriguez-Araneta Avenue in Quezon City. On R. Papa Street in Manila, floodwaters rose to near knee-level while other areas, like Rosario town in Cavite, were threatened by waist- to neck-deep floodwaters. The stormy weather was expected to persist until Wednesday, with Maring projected to move out on Thursday or early Friday. Weathermen say Maring has been showing signs of making a U-turn and staying within the Philippine area of responsibility until mid-week. Several towns and villages in Bulacan, Bataan, and Zambales, including the city of Meycauayan were under floodwaters as were Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Rizal and Cavite. Weathermen also alerted residents in Metro Manila, the Ilocos Region, Calabarzon as well as the provinces of Benguet, Zambales, Bataan, and Occidental Mindoro against possible flash floods and landslides triggered by the monsoon rains. The Western Visayas, Mindanao and the rest of Luzon will have cloudy skies with light to moderate rain showers and thunderstorms while the rest of the Visayas will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms. Philippine Red Cross chairman Richard Gordon on Monday urged the evacuation of residents living near the path of the La Mesa Dam water reservoir. “If you know anyone who lives near the path of La Mesa Dam, please call them now and tell them to evacuate as soon as possible,” said Gordon in his Facebook page. Gordon said as of 2 a.m., La Mesa Dam was on red alert. Weathermen downgraded the rainfall warning level over Metro Manila from orange to yellow at 12:15 p.m. after they observed a weaker-than-expected rainfall. But the state weather bureau still warned that moderate to heavy rainfall was likely to affect Metro Manila and the provinces of Zambales, Bataan, Pampanga, Rizal, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan and Quezon. Several areas in Metro Manila remained submerged Monday. These included Sta. Cruz to Palanca Street, Vicente Cruz to M. dela Fuente, the area around UST, Jose Abad Santos corner Tayuman Street, and Kalaw and Taft Avenue. In Pasay City, the EDSA Rotunda was knee-deep in flood. Roger Nicodemus of the MMDA’s flood control unit said SM City Sucat in Paranaque and the Ninoy Aquino Road were waist-deep in water. Chest-deep floods hit Quezon City’s Araneta Avenue, and waist-deep floods hit Barangay Tatalon and Talayan Village. Nearly 200 families in the cities of Pasay and Makati were moved to evacuation centers due to heavy flooding. Jonathan Malaya, spokesman of Pasay City Hall, said a total of 84 families from 10 barangays have been evacuated to a gymnasium, day care centers and various barangay halls. In Makati, the city’s Command Center at the city hall reported that 80 families or 260 residents were moved to evacuation centers because of rising floodwaters. Heavy flooding was reported in barangays Bangkal, Rizal, Pio Del Pilar and Palanan, Tejeros, Olympia, La Paz, San Antonio, and Singkamas since Sunday evening, where several streets were not passable to light vehicles. Bad weather also forced the postponement of the symbolic flag-raising ceremony at Barangay Southside inside the disputed Fort Bonifacio area, which was supposed to be led by Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay, Jr. Southside used to be part of Taguig City until a July 30 ruling of the Court of Appeals awarding it to Makati. In Taguig City, floods developed in areas along C-5 road. A total of 399 families or 2,050 people were moved to 12 evacuation centers, said Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano. Several areas in Paranaque City remained submerged in floodwaters. Sucat Road remained closed as the southbound lane going to the South Luzon Expressway was waist-deep in water. Thousands of residents in a dozen subdivisions were stranded because of the flooded streets. In Cavite, Gov. Jonvic Remulla said they had already recorded at least two fatalities and two missing. “Many roads here are not passable because of the raging floodwaters,” Remulla said. Tanza, Rosario, Bacoor, Noveleta, Kawit and Carmona were severely flooded, with waters rising to the rooftops in some areas amid non-stop rains and the collapse of the Tres Cruses irrigation dam, a Spanish-era water basin. By the late afternoon Monday, Remulla said 90 percent of the province remained flooded but waters were starting o subside. The Aguinaldo Highway leading to Tagaytay and to Manila were not passable, stranding thousands of commuters. The Laguna towns of San Pedro, Binan and Sta. Rosa also suffered heavy flooding, while chest-high waters swept through some barangays in Rodriguez, Rizal. Sta. Rosa Mayor Arlene Arcillas placed her municipality under a state of calamity after 15 of its 18 villages were affected hit by heavy floods. In nearby San Pedro, Calamba, and Binan, Laguna, thousand of families were forced to leave their homes for evacuation centers after waters from the heavily silted Laguna Lake overflowed to low-lying barangays. Stretches of the South Luzon Expressway near Calamba were also under water, rendering them impassable to all types of vehicles. In Bulacan, 63 villages, six towns and a city suffered flooding, with the city of Meycauayan and the coastal town of Hagonoy being the hardest hit, disaster officials said. All 26 barangays in Hagonoy were under three to four feet of water, which rose even more at high tide. In Bataan, the towns of Dinalupihan, Hermosa, Orion, Orani and Samal were submerged and residents were on top of the roofs of their houses waiting to be rescued. In Angeles City, some 40 families were forcibly moved from their homes, which were threatened by rising floodwaters. Some 108 villages in Central Luzon were submerged while several major thoroughfares in Bataan and Tarlac were under three feet of water, rendering them impassable. Further north, the residents of at least two villages in Badoc, Ilocos Norte had to be moved to evacuation centers. Floodwaters also hit the towns of Caoayan, Magsingal, San Ildefonso, Narvacan, Sto. Domingo, Candon City, Sta. Maria, Cabugao, and Masantol, in Ilocos Sur; Masantol, Macabebe, Lubao and Guagua, in Pampanga; Hermosa, Dinalupihan, Orani, and Abucay in Bataan; and Subic in Zambales. At least seven landslides were recorded in Abra, where major roads were closed. With Rio N. Araja, Ferdinand Fabella, Eric B. Apolonio, Francisco Tuyay, Orlan N. Mauricio, Jess Malabanan, PNA, AFP
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