Flash floods sweeping vulnerable areas in Bohol as a result of Tropical storm ‘Basyang,’ the second to enter Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) this year after ‘Agaton,’ is likely to always strike if no drastic action is taken by government agencies concerned.
The storm slammed into Bohol on Tuesday evening of last week, bringing strong winds and pouring heavy rain and cutting off power, causing one dead (under investigation) and a person was injured, officials said.
Air and sea transport were canceled ensuing untold hassles to passengers who were stranded at major seaports and airport though it did not cause so much destruction to properties after weather agency placed the entire province under storm signal number two.
Unofficial reports bared that destruction of ready-to-harvest rice farms and infrastructure are evident although these (damage) are negligible.
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction office has yet to finalize reports on damaging while monitoring and site inspection are done as of this writing, PDDR officer Anthony Damalerio said in a radio interview.
The storm prompted Capitol to declare no classes in public and private schools a day before Valentine’s celebration.
‘Basyang’ was packing sustained winds of 62kph, with gusts up to 85kph when it made landfall over Surigao, in Caraga region in eastern Mindanao.
Officials warned of storm surges in coastal villages, flash floods, and landslides, and asked barangay folk to evacuate to safer grounds.
As the wind battered Bohol with a downpour, blackout ensued for hours, causing shutting down of internet services and mobile signals in storm-affected areas.
In Candijay town, an unnamed woman (suspected of foul play and being investigated) was dead but it may not be related to the typhoon, the report said.
Another person was electrocuted, according to Candijay MDRRMC report signed by Mayor Christopher Tutor and LDRRM officer Jeryl Lacang-Fuentes.
Probably, the town of Guindulman on the easternmost part of Bohol is the most badly hit by the weather disturbance, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office in-charge of office Asterio M. Sy opined.
Almost all of the 19 barangays are affected, he said while preparing for an assessment report when interviewed.
He said that the areas being flooded were the barangays of Casbu, Tabajan, Sawang, Canhaway, Guinacot, Guio-ang and Trinidad.
Reports said that hundreds of families were evacuated to safer areas at the height of the storm that hit here at past 8 in the evening February 13, 2018.
Some 20 houses reportedly made of light materials in sitio Punta of barangay Tabajan, Guindulman were lost.
Mayor Ben Balo called on an emergency meeting of the MDRRMC Thursday to assess the damage and to extend relief goods to the evacuees. Kagawad Arnil Amparo was on hand in helping facilitate the relief distribution last week.
The report said that Guindulman officials led by Mayor Balo placed the entire town under the state of calamity, apparently to avail of calamity fund for the storm victims.
Based on the initial report of the MDRRMO, there were six areas affected by landslides, Sy said. These are the sitios Pansul, barangay Cabantian; barangay Cansiwang; barangay Guinacot barangay road; barangay Tabunoc; Catungawan Sur and barangay Mayuga.
In the nearby town of Duero, neck-deep flood water coming from Lobogon river overflowed crossing the national highway then to both elementary and high school campuses of barangay Guinsularan, destroying the concrete fence, computer units, textbooks, laboratory equipment, and others at the height Basyang slammed the province.
High School principal Rosalinda Butcon and elementary principal Concepcion Ampo confirmed this in separate interviews.
Estimate of damage of properties alone, including book and other reading materials and computers in High school alone, was placed to more than Php3 million, Butcon, who, along with parents and students, manages the cleaning up of the premises and salvage some properties, said.
Ampo said that the school damage, including the concrete fence destroyed by the floods, was placed at around Php500,000.00.
Both said it was the worse that came along and the first for the elementary school at the upper portion of elementary school area, whose backdoor are rice fields nearby the riverbanks.
High school here hosts some 842 students and 35 teachers, Butcon said.
Residential homes nearby were not spared as rampaging muddy water flooded their homes in barangay Itum, according to the MDRRMC report obtained by BNT.
Vicente Ente, 55, a farmer of the nearby elementary school, told this writer that aside from his new rice harvest of several sacks that got wet he lost his sari-sari store nearby his house which also bore damage and mud.
Tagbilaran City was not spared from the wrath of the storm caused heavy flooding in some areas. One of the celebrated ones is at the junction of this city and Dauis town and causeway, the main passageway to the tourist island of Panglao.
It caused a traffic jam at past 7 in the evening of Feb. 13 while foreign tourists were stranded as their motorcycles cannot pass the knee-deep water overflowing the national highway along the said road crossing.
Vicente Loquellano, a concerned citizen residing nearby the said junction, blamed the flash flood to poorly planned drainage system as water is coming from the high-end Camella homes situated in higher ground in this city.
“Almost all rain water from Camella homes sa junction mo padulong tungod sa canal. Gihimo nilang outflow ang junction. Anyway mao kuno nay gi ingon collateral damage sa development sa mga adunay kaya. Mag agwanta nalang ang taga junction basta naa nindot nga housing sa camella,” he said in his fb post.
“Miadto ko sa city engineering kay sa city baya ang site but ila ko gipasa sa dpwh. Ako si giingnan nganong wala gipalatas paingon sa dauis ja wala ra mo 1 mtr ang height sa canal along the highway ja mo liko sya going to tagb maoy cause nga dili ka apas ang flow mao mogawas sa canal going to kalsada. Kon gideretso pa continues iyang flow. Mao kuno ang designed,” he added.
For her part environmentalist and former city planning officer Pat Ruiz had this to say: “Hi Ric! It has been always flooding in Tagbilaran of every 30 mins of rain. I have observed the cause: foreshore reclamation. Examples: Manila and Cebu Bay foreshore reclamation. There are studies on that. Deaf ears.”
The tourist cape town of Anda also suffered damages in properties, farm crops and infrastructure in the aftermath of the storm.
“Heavy rains brought about by TD Basyang caused flash floods and landslides in the whole of municipality of Anda,” said its report.
Massive landslide is being observed in barangay Buenasuerte, causing the residents since massive landslide of boulders and debris blocked the road leading to the place. “There is also damage to the concrete road leading to barangay Lundag of which a portion collapsed due to soil erosion” as a result of the flash flood, the report said.
Perimeter fences of Candabong National High School and its health station and some residences collapsed, it said.
Flash floods damaged several houses in Barangay La Union and Tambongan while landslide cause destruction of roads leading to Canumantad Falls, barangay Cadapdapan, barangay Anoling, Luan with thousands of pesos estimated cost of damages, the report said.
Some 160 hectares of rice farms flooded and being declared by municipal agriculture officer as partially damaged. But no cost estimate of the damage provided in its report but will include in the next report. (rvo)