Flood alert level 3 still up in Butuan City

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/17 January) – Flood alert level 3 has been in effect in the city since Wednesday evening after the water level in the Agusan River continued to rise, increasing the number of displaced families to around 5,200 by Thursday, January I6, an official said.

“As of this evening (Thursday), code red remains in effect as we have seen the increase in the water level of the Agusan River. Thursday morning it was around 3.02 meters, and then by 5:00 in the afternoon it climbed to about 3.I0 meters from the normal I.7 meters,” Gracia Espere, officer-in-charge of the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO), said.

“Right now the number of affected barangays has increased from 29 to 44 and the number of displaced families has risen to 5,295 and they are being housed in 33 different evacuation centers all over the city,” she said.

She added they have been closely monitoring the water level of the Agusan River.

“We might see a further rise in the water level if in case the rain would not cease until tomorrow (Friday). This would mean more families would be displaced. The largest high school in the city, the Agusan National High School has already declined to accept more evacuees, recommending several families to the adjacent Butuan Central Elementary School which has just suspended its classes to accommodate the flood victims,” Espere said.

Supt. Romy Palgue, city deputy police director said their personnel had been placed on alert and helping in attending to the displaced families.

“We have already visited the different evacuation sites and placed police personnel to assist our evacuees while two teams from our public safety company have been roving throughout the flooded communities to assist and give aid to those who are trying to evacuate the area. Right now we are closely working with the CDRRMO and provide assistance when needed,” said Palgue.

As of 5:I0am Friday, the Project NOAH stream gauge at the CDRRM river base in Barangay Leon Kilat indicated the water level at 3.82 meters. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)