NorthMin warned of more floods until 2011

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/17 October) – The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) has warned residents of more floods until 2011.

Director Carmelito Lupo of the Office of Civil Defense in Northern Mindanao said that the “weak to moderate” La Nina that started in July this year could further strengthen based on “statistical model forecasts.”

In a La Nina Advisory dated Oct. 14, 2010, the National DRRMC, formerly National Disaster Coordinating Council informed and warned communities “to take pro-active actions to aim for zero casualties and avoid the loss of lives and properties” that may result from the higher than normal rainfall due to the La Nina weather event.

Lupo said they have already alerted all local DRRMC’s to take precautionary measures in their respective areas of responsibility.

The Disaster Risk Management Act of 2009 mandates all local government units to organize DRRM councils.

Climatic conditions in the country in August and September this year were “generally influenced by the moderate to strong easterly winds” which experts say are key indicators of La Nina event.

Rainfall assessment last month was below normal in most parts of Luzon, Leyte province and Eastern Mindanao but near to above normal rainfall was observed over most areas of the Bicol Region, Central Visayas and in Western and (Southwestern) Mindanao.

Lupo said the gradual shift of the wind from the southwest to the northwest flow is generally experienced during the later part of September up to October. However, due to the present La Niňa event, prevalence of the North East wind flow was already observed.

Data from the Philippine Astronomical, Geophysical and Atmospheric Service Administration (Pagasa) showed that 2009 was Cagayan de Oro’s wettest in the last 30 years, with rainfall at 142 percent above the 30-year rainfall average.

The city was struck by catastrophic floods in January 2009 that resulted in the displacement of more than 30,000 people.

Experts have warned of more frequent and severe weather disturbances like La Nina and El Nino weather events.

La Nina is characterized by above normal rainfall while El Nino is characterized by droughts. The country was hit by an El Nino event in the first half of the year. (BenCyrus G. Ellorin/MindaNews)