NAGA CITY: Incessant rains that began at midnight on Thursday caused a landslide and flooding in low-lying areas and the city’s central business district here, prompting Mayor John Bongat and the Camarines Sur provincial government to suspend classes in all levels on Friday.
As of 9 a.m. on Friday, a section of Panganiban Drive leading to the city proper was in ankle-deep water as well as the lower portion of Abella and J. Hernandez Avenue in the central business district.
Barangay Sabang, located at the Western end of Bicol river, and Barangay Trianggulo at the PNR site, were in knee-deep floodwaters since midnight, a street cleaner and resident of the area said.
A neck-deep flash flood also inundated Naga’s neighboring town of Magarao and the sitios of Tabog and Burabod in Lagonoy, Camarines Sur.
The rains swelled Naga river including other tributaries of the Bicol river basin area in Camarines Sur, like the Pawili river in Bula town.
The flooding happened a week after Albay was submerged in waist-to-neck high waters from torrential rains brought by the tail end of a cold front and a thunderstorm.
Meanwhile, a landslide affected the national road at Barangay Sagrada in Viga town of Catanduanes.
Senior Insp. Maria Luisa Calubaquib, spokesman for the Philippine National Police-Bicol, said a huge volume of soil and rocks fell from a mountain slope near a Smart cell tower site, hitting an Elf truck that was cruising along the circumferential road.
The truck (RNJ 213), driven by Gerald Tabor, 39, with helpers Jesus Olat, 52, and Alvin Oboso 39, was dragged into the adjoining river, forcing them to swim to the riverbank for safety. The three sustained multiple injuries and were brought to Viga District Hospital for treatment.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) reported that there were also landslides in the Lagonoy-Presentacion road in Barangay Caguiscan and Patrocino in Lagonoy town.
Lucy Cataneda, DPWH regional spokesman, said the areas were not passable on Friday.
“The Lagonoy-Presentacion road networks are not passable due to the flood but our men are working hard to remove the fallen debris along Pili-Tigaon-Albay boundaries. Our engineers and maintenance crew were already deployed for clearing operations,” she added.
A 2014 study on four cities of the country conducted by the Worldwide Fund for Nature Philippines and the BPI Foundation, ranked Naga second to Tacloban City as most vulnerable to climate change. From a 1-10 scale, with 10 as the most vulnerable, Naga got 6.10 based on environmental exposure, socio-economic sensitivity and adaptive capacity.
Its geographic location in the southern part of the Bicol River basin area makes it susceptible to flooding and when this becomes extreme, the city can end up an island, the study said.
with RHAYDZ B. BARCIA