Search and Rescue teams rush to Valencia villages isolated by floods

VALENCIA CITY (MindaNews/27 December) – Search and rescue teams, including three helicopters were deployed to this city Tuesday morning following reports from Governor Alex Calingasan that hundreds were trapped in Inawaan, Barangay Batangan and in Purok 2 after floods inundated communities along the Pulangi River.

Calingasan reported that as of  8:30 a.m. 300 persons were waiting to be rescued as houses in the two areas were swept away. As o 1 p.m., however, Valencia Mayor Leandro Catarata said only 30 persons were awaiting rescue in Inawaan, Batangan.

Catarata said the floodwaters rose at 5 a.m. but had subsided by 1 p.m.

Calingasan said diversion dam of the National Irrigation Administration between Barangay Lumbayao in Valencia and San Fernando town collapsed. The diversion dam channels water from Pulangui River to the ricelands.

Valencia City councilor Glenn Peduche earlier told MindaNews rescuers were evacuating the affected residents.

He said Pulangi Bridge which connects the poblacion to the city’s interior barangays has been closed to vehicles because it was already shaking.

The councilor added the floods affected 10 rice producing villages along the Pulangi River.

The Philippine Atmospheric and Geophysical, Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) in its Weather Advisory 2 issued at 8 p.m. on December 26, warned of flashfloods and landslides that may be triggered by widespread rains over Visayas and Mindanao due to the low pressure area (LPA) and the tail-end of a cold front.

At 5 p.m. December 26, the LPA was estimated based on satellite and surface data at “150 km Southwest of Cotabato City or over Sulu Sea.” In its Advisory 3 issued at 10 a.m. December 27, PAG-ASA said the LPA was estimated, based on satellite and surface data, at “160 km west of Zamboanga City.”

The downpour also caused floods in parts of Surigao City, Dinagat Islands. Surigao del Norte and Agusan del Sur.  (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)