‘Falcon’: Second rate, trying hard storm
(UPDATE) MANILA, Philippines—Over 300,000 people in 27 towns and 14 cities across four regions, including Metro Manila and Bicol, were affected by destructive floods wrought by Tropical Storm Falcon (Meari), which brushed the country’s eastern seaboard before exiting Saturday, officials said.
Some 75,000 were evacuated from their homes, more than half of whom in Albay province, and 20,000 in Metro Manila, according to a report by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
Sixty-six houses were damaged, including 15 houses in Quezon City that had their roofs blown off by a twister.
In the report, NDRRMC executive director Benito Ramos said there were no fatalities so far, although 15 remained missing—nine in Virac town in Catanduanres, three in Camarines Norte, one in Ligao, Albay, one in Rizal and one in Olongapo City.
There were originally 10 missing in Virac, a group of fishermen whose boats were swept away by rough seas, but one was found alive in Northern Samar after four days and nights at sea, Ramos said in a radio interview.
One injury was reported in Quezon City, a 14-year-old girl who suffered cuts from debris blown away by the twister, NDRRMC said.
NDRRMC monitoring of various dams and rivers showed that water levels had started receding, except in La Mesa and Ipo Dams, which as of Saturday morning were at critical levels, and Marikina River, Rosario Junction and San Juan River, which remained above the critical level, though Ramos said the Marikina River had started going down as well.
“The continuous moderate to heavy rains have caused an increase in the elevation of the La Mesa Dam to its overflow elevation of 80.15 meters. The excess water is expected to affect the low-lying areas along the Tullahan River, Fairview, Novaliches, and the Camanava (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela),” NDRRMC said.
“All the residents living in the aforementioned areas are advised to be alert for possible increase in water level downstream,” it said.
The agency said Ipo Dam management also opened three spillway gates to release excess water.
“Release of excess water is expected to increase the water level downstream of Ipo Dam. The release of water will be continued until the elevation of Ipo Dam stabilizes to its operating/normal level,” NDRRMC said.
Ramos, in the radio interview, said the small number of casualties and the fact that there had been no reported deaths showed that the people had learned lessons from Tropical Storm Ondoy (Ketsana), which in 2009 left more than 400 dead.
“The people had a good response. They evacuated readily. They learned the lessons of Ondoy,” he said. — DJ Yap, Philippine Daily Inquirer