• ‘Egay’ unleashes floods, submerges La Union towns

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    A COLD, STORMY DAY A woman and her children prepare to evacuate their post along Roxas Blvd. as strong winds and an incessant rain whipped by storm Egay lashed Manila.PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

    A COLD, STORMY DAY
    A woman and her children prepare to evacuate their post along Roxas Blvd. as strong winds and an incessant rain whipped by storm Egay lashed Manila.PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

    TROPICAL storm Egay dumped torrential rain on Northern Luzon over the weekend, triggering floods and rendering some provincial roads impassable to vehicles.

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    The storm weakened after crossing the region on Sunday but at least 17 areas were placed under storm warning signals, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

    Worst hit by floods was the province of La Union, where 11 coastal towns and a city were submerged. These are San Fernando City and the municipalities of Bangar, Luna, Balaoan, Santo Tomas, Rosario, Agoo, Caba, Aringay, Bauang, San Juan and Bacnotan.

    Director Chito Castro of the Office of Civil Defense in Region 1 said major river basins in the province overflowed on Sunday.

    According to Castro, almost all major roads in La Union are not passable, stranding thousands of people.

    He said electricity and communication lines were down.

    Castro added that officials of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council are coordinating with local officials in Ilocos Sur and Pangasinan for disaster mitigation efforts.

    “If we can no longer address this, that’s the time we will ask the help of the national government. So far it is still manageable,” he said.

    Areas under storm signal Number 2 were the provinces of Batanes, Cagayan, including Calayan and Babuyan Group of Islands, Apayao, Kalinga, Isabela, Ilocos Norte and Abra.

    Declared under storm warning Number 1 were the provinces of Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Benguet, Ilocos Sur, Aurora, La Union, Mountain Province and Ifugao.

    Egay is expected to blow out of the country on Wednesday.

    Pagasa issued heavy rainfall advisory for Metro Manila and nearby provinces because of the storm-enhanced southwest monsoon.

    Placed under “yellow” rainfall warning were the cities of Muntinlupa, Las Pinas, Parañaque, Taguig, Makati and Manila and the provinces of Cavite and Batangas.

    A yellow rainfall advisory is raised when the expected rainfall amount is between 7.5 millimeters and 15 mm within one hour and likely to continue.

    Communities given this advisory are told to be aware of weather conditions and warned that flooding may be possible in low-lying areas.

    ‘Zero’ casualty
    Malacañang said President Benigno Aquino 3rd also on Sunday was closely monitoring government agencies responsible for mitigating effects of the storm to achieve the government’s zero casualty target.

    “[Aquino] and the full force of the Cabinet continue to track the developments through the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to ensure the safety and welfare of those affected by the storm. We still aim for zero casualty,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

    In an interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan, Coloma urged residents in areas where typhoon signals are hoisted to be vigilant against landslides and floods.

    “The government continues to warn fishermen and small sea vessels against sailing to sea due to the strong waves brought about by the typhoon. We also advice this living in low-lying areas to prepare for possible landslides,” he said.

    With JOEL M. SY EGCO

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