Mindanao reels from weeks of heavy downpour
At least six people were been killed after weeks of heavy rains and floods in parts of Mindanao, disaster management officials said on Saturday.
The fatalities were from Zamboanga Sibugay, South Cotabato, Sarangani and Maguindanao.
Forecasters from the state weather agency Pagasa earlier said the heavy rains may be partially due to the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) across Mindanao.
Millions of pesos worth of crops have been destroyed as 12 towns in Maguindanao were submerged in flood after continuous rains since June 24 caused rivers in Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato to overflow.
According to a report released by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, a total of 9,970 students and 200 teachers were affected as classes were suspended in 32 public schools in 10 towns in Maguindanao.
As of Saturday, the rain and floods affected 25,738 families or 125,699 people in 193 barangays in 24 towns and two cities in five provinces in Mindanao.
Heavy rains also fell in Luzon, including Metro Manila, as Pagasa placed six areas in northern Luzon under Storm Signal No. 2 as Tropical Storm Egay (international name: Linfa) moved closer Saturday afternoon.
In its 5 p.m. advisory, Pagasa said Public Storm Warning Signal No. 2 is up over: Kalinga, Apayao, Isabela, Quirino, northern Aurora, Cagayan including Babuyan and Calayan Islands
Under Signal No. 1 are: the rest of Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao, Benguet, Mountain Province, Ilocos Sur, Abra, and Ilocos Norte
Forecasters said Egay may pack moderate to occasionally heavy rainfall within its 400-kilometer diameter. They warned fisherfolk and small seacraft not to venture out over the seaboards of southern Luzon and Visayas and the northern seaboard of Mindanao.
They also reminded residents in low-lying and mountainous areas of Metro Manila, Mimaropa (Mindoro-Marinduque-Cavite-Romblon-Palawan), Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon) and Bicol to be alert against possible flash floods and landslides.
Pagasa said Egay was estimated at 160 kilometers northeast of Casiguran, Aurora, with maximum sustained winds of 95 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 120 kph.
Egay is forecast to move northwest at 9 kph and is expected to be in the vicinity of Sta. Ana, Cagayan Sunday afternoon.
Malacañang on Saturday called on the public to take the necessary precautions against possible flash floods and landslides.
In a radio interview, deputy presidential spokesman Abigail advised the public to monitor Pagasa’s daily bulletins.
“If the Pagasa gives an advise to evacuate to safer grounds, the local authorities should make the necessary measures such as enforcing preemptive evacuation and getting all its disaster assets ready,” she said in Filipino.