4 dead as monsoon rains hit central, northern Luzon

OLONGAPO CITY, Philippines – Four people have been confirmed dead by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) as heavy to intense rains of the Southwest Monsoon, enhanced by a low pressure area, affect provinces in central and northern Luzon.

At least 4 people died as a result of the rains, including a 6-month old boy who was buried by a landslide in Pangasinan, the NDRRMC said Sunday, July 19.

The Central Luzon Regional Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Council (RDRRMC) earlier identified one of the victims as 13-year-old Romeo Sunung from Palawig, Zambales, who died Friday, July 17.

"His body was found in Salaza River," Office of Civil Defense Region III Director and RDRRMC Chair Josefina Timoteo said.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development reported that as of 9:30 pm Saturday night, July 18, around 4,800 families or 22,730 persons from 59 barangays of 8 towns and cities in Bataan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales were affected. (READ: Thousands affected, 2 dead amid Ilocos rains)

Around 541 of those families or 2,311 persons currently seek temporary shelter in 23 evacuation centers.

The Department of Health also activated its Medical Response Team and has already conducted medical consultations in evacuation centers in Dinalupihan, Bataan where two out of the 24 patients were referred to the district hospital for further tests and monitoring.

Meanwhile, Central Luzon RDRRMC reported that a number of roads and bridges are currently not passable to all types of vehicles due to flooding.

This includes the Pitabakan-Balitukan Road in Magalang, San Antonio Bridge in Floridblanca, Sta. Ana-Magalang Road, and Baliwag-Candaba Road in Pampanga.

“All of the member-agencies of the RDRRMC as well as the Local DRRM Offices remain on alert specifically for possible flashfloods and landslides. We would like to advise our residents to follow instructions from your local DRRMs specifically if pre-emptive evacuation is necessary,” Timoteo added.

Social welfare and relief agencies are delivering aid to affected areas while the public works department is preparing to repair damaged infrastructure, said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma.

Although no storm is forecast to hit, the government weather station warned that "monsoon rains which may trigger flash floods and landslides will be experienced," over large areas of the northern Philippines on Sunday. – With reports from Randy Datu and Agence France-Presse / Rappler.com