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BUTUAN, Philippines – The inclement weather system unleashed days of heavy rain, resulting in widespread flooding and landslides that affected some 15,316 families in the Caraga region as of Thursday, January 18.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said about 58,001 people throughout the region have found themselves struggling as a result of a shear line affecting many parts of Mindanao.
The DSWD Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center reported that, as of 6 pm on Thursday, approximately 1,953 families sought refuge in 40 evacuation centers across the region. About 5,149 other families sought shelter elsewhere.
The DSWD said 46 barangays have been affected in Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur provinces alone.
In Veruela town, Agusan del Sur, the local government declared a state of calamity a day earlier due to the effects of the shear line, which brought heavy rain and widespread flooding in the municipality.
Based on the Veruela Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (MDRRMC) situational report, 9,686 individuals from 2,561 families, equivalent to 24.39% of the total population of 39,708, were affected in the town alone.
It reported that in agriculture, 2,433.5 hectares were either damaged or destroyed or 36.96% of the town’s total rice areas. The damage estimate due to the flooding in the town was placed at some P73.516 million.
Veruela MDRRMC Chief Clyde Bonita said the water levels of bodies of water in some villages reached critical levels, particularly in barangays Binongan, Poblacion, and San Gabriel, on Thursday, following days of heavy rainfall.
The situation prompted the town government to extend the suspension of classes at all levels and work in government and private offices in the three worst affected barangays. Work and classes in other villages, however, resumed on Wednesday.
Angeline Romano, a 23-year-old resident of Barangay Poblacion in Veruela, told Rappler that the flooding started on Tuesday, but her family only evacuated on the night of Wednesday as floodwaters further rose to alarming levels.
“It’s my first time to experience the effects of the Agusan River overflowing. Our home is near the Agusan River, and the floodwater reached chest level,” Romano said.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said a shear line has been affecting the eastern section of Mindanao. It also anticipated light to moderate rain, including thunderstorms, in the Caraga until Friday.
The shear line is the point where cold air from the northeast monsoon or amihan converges with warm air from the Pacific Ocean, triggering rains.
The state weather bureau cautioned people living near the mountain slopes and in the low-lying areas near river systems to be alert for possible flash floods. – Rappler.com
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