MANILA – Floods and rising river waters chased hundreds out of their homes as heavy rains inundated vast swaths of Luzon late Saturday in scenes reminiscent of tropical storm “Ondoy” nine years ago.
The highest rainfall warning was raised over Metro Manila before midnight, with the downpours expected to persist in the coming days due to the southwest monsoon, according to the state weather bureau Pagasa.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said 961 areas in the following regions have experienced flooding: 1, 3, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, 6, 10, Cordillera Administrative Region, and National Capital Region.
Floodwaters in 762 areas have already subsided, the NDRRMC said on Sunday.
Malacañang urged affected residents to remain alert and safe.
“Sa mga lugar na nakakaranas pa rin ng pagbaha, hinihikayat po namin kayo na manatili sa mga evacuation centers na inihanda ng inyong lokal na pamahalaan,” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said on Sunday.
Roque assured the public that assistance will be provided to flood-hit areas.
Around P120.4 million worth of assistance has been released by the Office of Civil Defense, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, local government units, nongovernment organizations, and other groups, said Roque.
Tropical storm “Karding” may have left the Philippine area of responsibility but it continued to enhance the southwest monsoon, and this could bring more rains until Wednesday, Pagasa said.
The NDRRMC remained on “red alert” as of this writing even though floodwater in most areas has already subsided. A “response cluster” led by the Social Welfare department has been activated as well.
In Marikina, one of the worst hit by “Ondoy” (international name: Ketsana), 4,159 families (11,765 individuals) were evacuated as authorities kept watch over the Marikina River level.
“Parang ‘Ondoy’ ang nangyayari sa ngayon dahil sa patuloy na lakas ng ulan na binubuhos sa ganitong kaiksing panahon,” Marikina mayor Marcelino Teodoro told radio dzMM.
“Ondoy” submerged large portions of the capital in September 2009, leaving 464 people killed. In 2012, monsoon rains brought flooding to 80 percent of the capital and killed at least 66 people.
People trapped in the second floor of their homes pleaded for rescue on social media. The floods caused traffic jams and stranded commuters, with many still waiting for their rides home at nightfall.
Along Manila Bay, huge waves washed heaps of trash to the shore with most of the capital shrouded in darkness for most of the day due to the heavy rains.
A monsoon episode in mid-July caused the cancellation of work and classes, with rains over two days equal to a third of “Ondoy’s” deluge. (With ABS-CBN News and Prince Golez/PN)