Cordillera dams at critical levels, evacuation ongoing


KALINGA, Philippines – The Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) in the northern Philippines remained on red alert status Friday afternoon, September 19, as dams reached critical levels, and provinces remained under storm signals due to Tropical Storm Mario (international code: Fung-Wong).

Office of Civil Defense regional director Andrew Alex Uy, who also chairs the Cordillera Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CRDRRMC), said they had made the necessary preparations for Mario, aiming to have zero casualties like they did during Typhoon Luis early this week.

Signal No. 2 remained hoisted over the provinces of Abra, Apayao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province. Storm Signal No. 1 is raised in Ifugao and Benguet.

As of posting, preemptive evacuations are ongoing in the municipalities of Santa Marcela, Flora, Kabugao, and Pudtol in Apayao, according to the provincial disaster management council. Members of the Disaster Response Unit of 503rd Infantry Brigade of the armed forces are assisting the local government unit emergency response teams.

As of 6 am, Binga Dam in Benguet had opened gates 3 and 4 as water level reached 574.74m ASL, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGP) reported. The critical level established for the dam is 575m ASL.

Ambuklao Dam, also in Benguet, had risen to 750.53m ASL, close to its critical level of 752m ASL.

Meanwhile, the San Roque Dam in Pangasinan, in the Ilocos region, was at 267.31m ASL, way below its critical level of 290m ASL.

The provinces of Apayao and Kalinga experienced intermittent power outages.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development said it had prepositioned 26,098 family packs across the region in anticipation of Typhoon Mario.

Follow Rappler's live blog for more information, photos, and videos from areas affected by Typhoon #MarioPH (Fung-Wong). –