PAGASA sees more landslides in Cordillera

By Liza Agoot

The Cordillera Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (DRRMC) has issued a warning for residents to watch out for possible landslides as the mountains continue to be soaked with rain.

Franzes Ivy Carasi, Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) information officer, said PAGASA Baguio Synoptic Station recorded a 201.6 millimeter (mm) of rainfall in Baguio City in 24 hours.

She said PAGASA recorded the rainfall from 8 a.m. on July 20 to 8 a.m. on July 21. The record has exceeded Baguio’s threshold of 150 mm of rainfall in 24 hours, increasing the probability of landslides.

“Cordillera DRRMC warns the public, local DRRM councils, and other stakeholders on the threats of landslides and flash floods due to heavy rains with strong wind,” Carasi said.

At 1 p.m. Saturday, the DRRMC’s rainfall advisory said moderate to occasionally heavy rains were being experienced over Benguet and Abra provinces, while light to moderate rains were being experienced in Ifugao and Mountain Province.

“TD Josie has slightly intensified. Scattered to widespread moderate to heavy rains will prevail over Cordillera,” the tropical cyclone alert said at 2 p.m.

Signal number 1 has been raised over Apayao and the northern part of Abra.

As of 7 a.m. on July 21, the DRRMC’s situation report said there had been 17 reported landslide incidents in the entire region — nine in Baguio City, four in Benguet, two in Ifugao, one in Mountain Province, and one in Abra.

There is also a flooding incident monitored in Ifugao.

In Baguio, nine families reportedly moved to safer areas at their relatives and neighbors’ places because of threats of landslides. One landslide incident was monitored in Bontoc, Mountain Province on July 18, with one reported dead and one injured.

As of 12 noon on Saturday, Ambuklao Dam’s level was at 748.67 meters, which is below the critical 752-meter level. Binga Dam was at 573.60 meters, nearing its critical level of 575 meters.

Both dams have opened gates to release water to the Agno River, which flows to San Roque Dam that was at 253.48 meters. Its critical level is 280 meters.

A state of calamity has been declared over Barangay Bimpal, Lamut, Ifugao by the municipal government last July 18, while Lagawe, Ifugao was declared in a state of calamity on July 20.

Authorities also warned motorists to take precaution measures when traveling on Cordillera roads which are slippery and with low visibility due to the fog. (PNA)Photo by jitze