Heavy rainfall displaces over 1,600 persons in 2 cities

THE two-hour downpour on Friday afternoon, Sept. 9, 2022 exposed again some areas in Metro Cebu to one perennial problem: flooding, which displaced more than 1,600 individuals in the cities of Cebu and Mandaue.Following the downpour, four transformers exploded in Mandaue City, injuring three individuals.The heavy rainfall dropped 60 millimeters of water onto the metro’s northern parts, including the towns of Liloan and Consolacion, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) Visayas.Pagasa Visayas chief Alfredo Quiblat Jr. said a localized thunderstorm caused the intense rainfall, which swelled Butuanon River causing it to overflow and swept away five houses and damage 15 others in Barangay Pit-os, Cebu City.The river also flooded these areas in Mandaue City: Sitio Lub-ang in Barangay Casuntingan, UN Avenue in Barangay Umapad, Sitios Tambis and Talong in Barangay Paknaan, Sitio Salvacion in Barangay Maguikay, and Sitio Pulang Bukid in Barangay Alang-Alang.Other barangays that were flooded were Tabok and Tingub.Floodwaters in Lub-ang, Tambis and Talong were at head level; in Salvacion and Pulang Bukid, neck level; and in parts of UN Avenue, waist level.The downpour started past 1 p.m. and it ended past 3 p.m.As of 8:15 p.m., 464 families composed of 1,565 individuals from the flooded barangays were evacuated.No casualtiesPit-os Barangay Councilor Dexter Velayo said despite the flood’s destruction of five houses, they were not able to record casualties; however, they encountered a problem with how to provide food to 130 individuals who were evacuated since they do not have enough provisions.Velayo said they need food donations for the affected residents, adding that the food packs from the Department of Social Welfare and Development have already been given to individuals displaced by flooding in the past months.The village official said their barangay had experienced intense flooding. The situation on Friday afternoon, however, was different because many houses were affected.Most of the affected houses did not encroach on the three-meter easement of the river, he added.Pit-os Barangay Council, Velayo said, has also been active in giving warnings to its residents about the possible danger due to intense rainfall.“When we see a sign of possible downpour, we immediately roll out our disaster team to warn those residents living in disaster-prone areas,” Velayo said in Cebuano.Velayo further said that they have already sought the help of the city government in providing a relocation site for families living in the danger zone.Situation in MandaueNo casualties were also recorded in Mandaue City, according to Karlo Cabahug, head of the Mandaue City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office’s (MCDRRMO) research and planning division.The MCDRRMO started its preemptive evacuation around 2 p.m.Following the heavy rainfall, four transformers along M.C. Briones St. exploded, injuring two adult men and a 16-year-old boy. They received treatment for the burns in different parts of their bodies.Mayor Jonas Cortes visited the individuals, and he had one of the adult men transferred to a private hospital for treatment of his serious injuries.Cabahug said they had received reports that a whirlwind hit the area before the explosions, adding that strong winds accompanying the downpour could have loosened the wirings of the transformers.WaterspoutAround 1:30 p.m. Friday, a waterspout was spotted over the seawaters off Lapu-Lapu City; however, this did not move inland, thus no persons were injured and no houses were damaged.The waterspout was spotted in the waters between the city and Liloan town, according to Nigel Bañacia, head of the Lapu-Lapu CDRRMO.Bañacia said there were some areas in the city that were flooded amid the downpour, but the flood eventually subsided unlike in other areas in Metro Cebu.“The flood here in Opon (Lapu-Lapu’s old name) is not life-threatening. We are an island, [there are ] no mountains and rivers in the city,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English. (IRT, HIC, MKG)