Nearly 6,000 residents were evacuated from their homes in Butuan City as floods submerged at least 21 villages there, the Office of the Civil Defense in Caraga region said Friday.
Flood Alert Level 3 is still up in this city due to continuous heavy rains brought by the low pressure area (LPA) located 380 kilometers southeast of General Santos City.
This despite the receding waters of the Agusan River from a high 3.2 meters as of 11:55 p.m. Thursday to 2.9 meters as of 8 a.m. Friday, a city official said.
In an interview, Gracia Espere, officer-in-charge of the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, said that Alert Level 3 is still up and classes are suspended on all levels.
Espere said the flood has already affected 1,634 families or some 6,018 individuals in 21 low-lying barangays.
The evacuees are currently housed in 21 evacuation centers including in covered courts and schools.
The City Social Welfare and Development Office is conducting relief operations in the different evacuation centers since Thursday afternoon.
In a radio interview Friday morning, Acting Butuan City Mayor Lawrence Lemuel Fortun said that mandatory evacuation had been implemented in the barangays located at riverbanks since Thursday afternoon.
He said the Butuan City Search and Rescue Team (BUSART) augmented by teams coming from the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Philippine Army, Philippine Navy, and the Coast Guard are on standby and ready for any emergency.
He added that even private firms (i.e. construction companies) are volunteering their equipment and personnel if the need arises. The nine dump trucks of the City Government including its ambulances are also ready on standby.
Waist-deep floods affected several barangays as Alert level 3 has been raised over the city, she added.
For its part, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said three roads and a bridge in Caraga are still impassable. The same goes for roads in Agusan Del Sur, Talacogon and San Luis.
Norala was declared under a state of calamity due to severe flooding, NDRRMC added.
Affected barangays include Amparo, Bading, Bonbon, Dankias, Golden Ribbon, Lemon, Maon, Mahay, Bobon, Obrero, Buhangin, Agao, baan Riverside, Pangabugan, Nongnong, Agusan Pequeno, Port Poyohon, Basag, Mahogany, Pagatpatan and Maog.
Photo source: Inquirer Mindanao