Thousands stranded as flash floods hit Cagayan de Oro

Bobby Lagsa
(UPDATED) The City Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Office is on yellow alert. Military trucks have been deployed to rescue residents.

CAGAYAN DE ORO FLOODING. A flooded street makes travel difficult for motorists. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – Two weather systems – a low pressure area (LPA) and the tail-end of a cold front – caused heavy flooding on Monday, January 16, leaving thousands of students and workers stranded in some areas of the city on Monday afternoon, the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Department (CDRRMD) said.

As of 6:30 pm, heavy rains that lasted for more than 3 hours submerged streets and major thoroughfares in the city, rendering them impassable to vehicles.  (Nonstop rains also triggered floods in Cebu and Leyte.)

In Camaman-an Elementary School, for instance, pupils who were trapped inside their classrooms had to be rescued by the CDRRMD’s Urban Search and Rescue unit and other responders as floodwaters spread throughout the campus.

Students who were still in campus were also told to proceed to the upper floors of school buildings until the water receded.

The billing department of the city government-run J.R. Borja General Hospital in Carmen and the Capitol University Medical Center emergency room in Gusa were flooded as well.

Power supply in the city was cut off by the Cagayan de Oro Electric Power and Lights Company. 

WORRIED ONLOOKERS. Commuters on an overpass look on at the flood waters. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler.

The basement parking of a mall at CM Recto Avenue and Corrales Street was filled with floodwater as vehicles were floating.

The area outside a mall near Bitan-ag Creek, an area usually inundated by floodwaters, was flooded, even though that part of CM Recto Avenue was already elevated.

WADING IN FLOOD WATER. Two women wade across flood waters. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler.

According to a CDRRMD report, portions of barangays Camaman-an, Patag, Carmen, and some urban barangays, were also flooded.

Residents in the affected areas were advised to leave their homes and proceed to evacuation centers voluntarily, said Vergil Lago, CDRRMD weather monitoring specialist.

Lago also said a rain gauge installed near the Cagayan de Oro river measured 166.2 millimeters of rainfall.

FLOOD WATERS. The view from atop an overpass. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

The City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD) meanwhile reported that as of Monday evening, 68 families or 416 individuals in Macasandig sought temporary shelter at the village covered court. Other residents in other affected barangays spent the night in their respective evacuation areas.

Responders from various government agencies such as the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Bureau of Fire Protection, among others, were deployed to rescue stranded persons.

RISING WATER. Cars threaten to stall as flood waters take over the streets. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

Military trucks have been dispatch to rescue residents.

Preemptive evacuation has been ordered in the landslide-prone barangays of Tumpagon and Pigsag-an, and the flood-prone Bulua. (#FloodPH: Areas in Cagayan de Oro where preemptive evacuation is enforced)

No casualty was reported and authorities had yet to assess the damage caused by the flash flood.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) included Northern Mindanao as one of the regions affected by the LPA and tail-end of the cold front. –