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Landslides, floods bash North Luzon

Laoag City—Torrential rains in the northern part of Ilocos Norte, Cagayan and Apayao have caused landslides and floods in low-lying areas, local officials reported Saturday.

The Philippines’ north has been hit by some of its worst flooding in decades, with torrents of muddy runoff forcing 66,000 from their homes and prompting rescues of trapped locals, authorities also said Friday. 

Some of them had to be rescued by emergency crews in boats, as Typhoon “Tisoy” lashed the north and left at least 13 people dead.

Mayors Rafael Ralph Benemerito of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte and Esterlina Aguinaldo of Sta. Praxedes, Cagayan have advised motorists and commuters going to and from the Ilocos region to postpone their trips for their safety.

“The roads are still not passable. Cagayan-bound vehicles are currently stopped at Barangay Baduang in Pagudpud,” said a road advisory posted on the official Facebook page of the Pagudpud government on Saturday.

Luzon, the nation’s largest island, has been hit by a string of storms that have battered its northern tip while monsoon rains were intensified by the passage of “Tisoy” (international name Kammuri) this week. 

Large swaths of lush green land were inundated after rivers burst their banks, leaving only treetops visible above the waterline.

Landslides have cut off roads to some isolated towns and some bridges are covered by the flooding. However, authorities said they have not confirmed any deaths caused by the high water.

“This is one of the biggest floods in decades,” Rogelio Sending, information officer for Cagayan province, told Agence France-Presse.

As of Saturday afternoon, the maintenance crew of the Department of Public Works and Highways based in Ilocos Norte and Cagayan have been clearing the Manila North Road in Barangay San Juan, Sta. Praxedes, Cagayan and in Barangay Union, Claveria, Cagayan of debris and landslides.

“The road cut in Claveria is passable to light vehicles only while the San Juan road is still closed,” said Henry delos Santos, engineer II of DPWH Cagayan on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Sanchez Mira Bridge on the Manila North Road is also closed to heavy trucks due to a washed-out middle pier and scoured embank protection. Warning signs have been put up and motorists have to take the alternate Sanchez Mira by-pass road.

Both lanes of K0537+700 of the Cagayan-Apayao Road are also closed to traffic due to landslide.

A heavy downpour for the past few days triggered landslides and flash floods in parts of Ilocos Norte and nearby provinces of Cagayan and Apayao.

Homestay owners in Adams, Ilocos Norte said even if the road is passable in the area, visitors are not yet encouraged to go to Adams due to non-stop rain and extremely cold weather. With AFP

READ: Crop damage in 5 regions breaches P5-billion mark

Topics: Rafael Ralph Benemerito , Esterlina Aguinaldo , landslides , North Luzon
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