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CEBU, Philippines – Several parts of Cebu’s urbanized cities were submerged in floods due to localized thunderstorms that brought rain showers over the week.
Ankle-deep waters rose along the roads of Barangay Banilad, Apas, Talamban, and Mabolo in Cebu City and in areas situated in Barangay Tipolo, Cabancalan, and Looc in Mandaue City.
Based on data from the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) regional services division in Visayas as of Thursday, September 14, a total of 65.9 millimeters of rainfall were recorded from Monday, September 11, to Wednesday, September 13.
The floods caused traffic jams in affected areas, leaving commuters stranded and drenched by the rain. Around 140 families were evacuated from their homes in both Mandaue and Cebu City amid landslides and collapsing structures.
Harold Alcontin, the head of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO) told reporters on Thursday morning, September 14, that a portion of Lapu-Lapu Street, near the Metropolitan Cathedral, in downtown Cebu City caved in as heavy rain poured, while a wall near the Mahiga Creek in Barangay Banilad collapsed during the flooding.
What caused the floods
For years, the highly urbanized cities of Cebu have been trying to implement flood control projects. Local officials have cited that projects that go way back to 2017 were delayed due to a lack of funding from the national government.
Acting Cebu City Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia, after conducting an inspection of the affected barangays, said in a Facebook post that the flooding was not just caused by issues with the drainage systems but by factors that include the introduction of developments in the city and a failure to implement flood control measures.
Cebu City Councilor Jerry Guardo, chairman of the committee on infrastructure, told Rappler in a chat message on September 14, that some parts of the city’s existing drainage system were blocked with silt, which caused water to overflow.
Guardo said that some of the same overflow was contained by the walls of a mall’s parking area near the Mahiga Creek that was completely paved over in concrete, turning the place into a basin for floodwater.
“Some establishments put screen on the box culverts which causes water to backflow and overflow after it is filled with garbage,” the councilor added.
The officials recommended that the city government should revisit existing ordinances and mandate private establishments and developers to construct flood-control mechanisms as early as their project’s construction phase.
Meanwhile, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes ordered the city’s drainage committee and flood committee to investigate the major causes of flooding in their vicinity and to formulate an appropriate plan of action.–Rappler.com