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LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – More than 200 vehicles heading to Bicol, Visayas and Mindanao were stranded on Wednesday, December 27, in Del Gallego, Camarines Sur, due to a landslide triggered by continuous heavy rain in the area, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Bicol said.
Claudio Yucot, OCD Bicol director, said that a portion of the Rolando Andaya Highway in Barangay Comadaycaday, Del Gallego town in Camarines Sur, was impassable in both directions due to the landslide.
The highway is a major artery connecting Bicol and Southern Luzon, and is used by buses from Manila to Bicol, Visayas, and Mindanao.
Due to the landslide, a heavy traffic jam formed on both directions of the highway in the morning, stranding thousands of travellers going to Manila and Bicol region, as well as those going to the Visayas and Mindanao.
Lucy Castaneda, spokesperson of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) regional office in Bicol, said that a portion of the retaining walls in the area collapsed after the area experienced continuous heavy rains.
Castaneda said said that DPWH personnel immediately conducted clearing operations to ease the burden of the travelers.
“Motorists are encouraged to take alternate route via Sipocot-Daet-Sta Elena and vice versa,” she said.
However, Castaneda also cautioned travelers passing through the alternate route.
“Caution is also advised when driving on this alternate road due to a road slip in Tabugon, Sta. Elena, Camarines Norte,” she added.
The highway was later cleared for vehicular traffic as of 2 pm Wednesday.
Meanwhile, OCD-Bicol warned Bicolanos and disaster officials to be on guard and to be ready to evacuate, specifically in areas identified as landslide- and flood-prone, for safety, as heavy rains continue to pound the region.
Mayor Herbie Aguas of Sto. Domingo town also called on barangay officials in landslide-prone areas to be ready and to enforce localized evacuation if need be to prevent any untoward incident due to heavy rains in Albay, which has been going on for a week now.
Aside from the landslide in Camarines Sur, flooding also affected low lying areas in Legazpi City on Wednesday morning, but it subsided before midday.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council warned on Wednesday that heavy rainfall in Albay, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte will cause possible floods and landslides.
Moderate to heavy rainfall, meanwhile, is also expected to affect Catanduanes and Sorsogon, as well as in Marinduque in neighboring Mimaropa region. – Rappler.com