School, work suspended in parts of Visayas, Mindanao due to heavy rains, flooding

SEVERAL local governments in central and southern Philippines suspended classes and work on Tuesday due to heavy rains from a low pressure area (LPA) east of the country, triggering floods in some areas.  

In the town of Tubod in Lanao del Norte, the disaster management council reported widespread floodingwith 1,044 families composed of 5,300 individuals affected as of early Tuesday morning.   

Tubod Mayor Dionisio Y. Cabahug, Jr. issued an order suspending work in all government and private offices.   

The Lanao del Norte provincial information office, in a separate report, said at least one person was reported to have died as eight other towns apart from Tubod have been placed under red level warningdue to flooding and landslides.    

Continued rainfall has caused flooding in low-lying areas and overflowing of rivers, and landslides in mountainous areas. These prompted pre-emptive and forced evacuation among the affected populace,the provincial government said.  

In Iloilo City, Mayor Jerry P. Treñas canceled the weekly flag ceremony at the city hall and announced a suspension of classes in elementary and high school. Tertiary education institutions were given discretion to call of classes.   

In Panabo City, Davao del Norte, Mayor Jose E. Relampagos suspended classes in all levels for public schools and government work on Tuesday.  

All private companies and schools may suspend work and classes at the discretion of their respective managements,the Panabo City information office announced on its Facebook page late Monday.   

Tacloban City in Eastern Visayas suspended work in all offices and classes in all levels, citing the local disaster management offices recommendation.    

In the island province of Biliran, also in in Eastern Visayas, at least five towns declared a suspension of work in both government and private sector.   

The Office of Civil Defense in Eastern Visayas ordered a full alert on emergency teams after state weather agency PAGASA issued a red rainfall warning over the provinces of Eastern Samar, Samar, Leyte, Biliran, and neighboring Camotes Island.   

PAGASA weather forecaster Obet Badrina, in a weather outlook report on Tuesday, said the low pressure area (LPA) was located 145 kilometers southeast of General Santos City as of 4 a.m.   

It is likely to dissipate before entering the Philippine area, he said.  

In the northern mainland of Luzon and surrounding islands, the northeast monsoon was expected to bring moderate to heavy rains, especially in the regions of Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Bicol, and the capital region Metro Manila.   

Apart from the LPA, no other weather conditions are being monitored that could develop into a typhoon in the coming days,Mr. Badrina said in Filipino.   

Meanwhile, the death toll from flooding and landslides triggered by shear line rains in December has climbed to 51 and 19 others remain missing, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (NDRRMC) report as of Jan. 3.  

Of the total deaths, 13 have been confirmed while 38 are under validation, it said. 

The shear line, or where rain is formed when cold and warm air converge, started Dec. 18 and continued to dump rains in the Visayas and Mindanao until Christmas eve. An LPA also formed the following week, bringing rains in areas already affected by the shear line.  

NDRRMC has tallied about 150,400 affected families or almost 600,000 individuals. As of the Jan. 3 report, about 50,000 people were still displaced.  

There were 836 totally destroyed houses and another 3,704 that were partially damaged. Damage cost is estimated at P54.89 million.   

In infrastructure, damage estimates has reached P1.14 billion.   

Cost to the agricultural sector stood at more than P245 million with over 9,700 farmers and fisherfolk affected.  

The shear line affected 10 of the countrys 17 regions, with 22 towns and cities declaring a state of calamity. Marifi S. Jara