Floods, landslide force evacuation in Bicol


HEAVY rains and thunderstorms spawned by the tail-end of a cold front prevailing since Thursday triggered floods and a landslide that injured three people and forced some 300 families to evacuate in various parts of the Bicol region on Friday.

Naga City Mayor John Bongat said 70 percent of the city was submerged in floodwater.

The most affected village is Calauag, where floodwaters reached waist-deep levels and where elderly, children, pregnant women, and persons with disability were evacuated.

Bongat said the 300 families were safely transferred to the city’s evacuation center.

The mayor also issued an advisory suspending classes in all levels of public and private schools.

In the neighboring town of Magarao, floodwaters submerged several houses in the village of Sta. Lucia, where a road-widening project is ongoing.

Magarao Mayor Philip Salvador Señar said they will send the Department of Public Works and Highways a formal letter of complaint from the residents claiming that materials used in the road-widening project obstructed the flow of floodwater.

So far, there were only three families who asked to be rescued from the floods, Señar.

Señar said 14 out of the 15 villages in his town are located in low-lying areas but as of Friday morning, only four villages reported flooding.

Rebecca Roces, DPWH district engineer of the second district of Camarines Sur, said she has already deployed personnel to inspect the situation of the road-widening project in Sta. Lucia.

She said she will order the contractor to remove obstructions in the waterways, if there are any.

Meanwhile, three persons were hurt when a truck they were riding was hit by landslide Friday morning at the Circumferential Road in Barangay Sagrada in Viga, Catanduanes, a report reaching the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Friday.

Senior Inspector Maria Luisa Calubaquib, PNP Bicol spokesperson, said a huge volume of soil and rocks cascaded down from a mountain slope near a Smart cellsite, hitting an Elf truck cruising the highway in said village.

On board the truck (RNJ 213) was driver Gerald Tabor, 39, and helpers Jesus Olat, 52 and Alvin Oboso, 39, all residents of Viga town.

Calubaquib said the landslide dragged the truck into the adjoining river, forcing the driver and his companions to swim toward the riverbank.

The three sustained multiple injuries and were rushed to the Viga District Hospital for treatment. p: wjg