Residents take shelter at a covered basketball court after their homes were destroyed by floods that was brought by monsoon rains in San Mateo, Rizal. Erik de Castro, Reuters
MANILA – Rising floodwaters chased thousands to evacuation centers on Saturday as more monsoon rains threatened Luzon and Western Visayas until next week.
Some 3,300 people were to spend the night on straw mats in eight evacuation centers in Bagong Silangan village in Quezon City. Dozens others fled to covered courts in San Mateo town in Rizal province.
Authorities warned of flooding in the capital and surrounding suburbs after several days of heavy rains pushed the La Mesa Dam close to overflow level. All eight floodgates at the Marikina river were also opened.
In neighboring Bulacan province, residents of Calumpit and Hagonoy towns were alerted for possible evacuation after the Ipo Dam opened at least one gate.
A tropical storm and a weather system east of Luzon will not hit land but will stir the southwest monsoon, bringing rains to large portions of the country for the next three to five days, the state weather bureau said.
Several villages in Pampanga province were submerged in knee-deep to waist-deep floods snarling traffic and stranding commuters. Flash floods also hit busy streets in the capital.
Another wall collapse in Mariana village, Quezon City left one man killed.
“Maging handa po tayo. Maging alerto tayo sa mabababang lugar na prone sa landslide at flash flood [Let’s get ready. Let’s stay alert, especially in low-lying areas that are prone to landslides and flash floods],” Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) forecaster Aldczar Aurelio said in a televised briefing.
Referring to the two weather systems east of Luzon, Aurelio said: “Sila yung parang magnet. Pag may LPA dito, parang magnet automatic itong habagat ay pupunta sa atin [They act like magnets. If there is a low pressure area, it acts like a magnet and the monsoon goes towards our direction],” he said.
The La Mesa Dam was just 0.11 meter below its overflow level of 80.05 meters and an evacuation order was issued as early as 11 a.m., PAGASA hydrologist Sonia Serrano told DZMM.
The Ipo Dam in Bulacan opened one gate at 1:30 p.m. and aside from Calumpit and Hagonoy along the mouth of Manila Bay, floods could also affect Norzagaray, Angat, San Rafael, Bustos, Baliwag, and Plaridel, Serrano said.