BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Heavy downpour triggered a flashflood Saturday night in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, affecting five barangays and causing the evacuation of more than 100 families, composed of about 400 individuals.
But no casualty was reported, Mayor Renato Gustilo said yesterday.
Gustilo said residents were alarmed by the waist-high waters experienced for the first time in San Carlos, because of the continuous rains that lasted for almost three hours.
City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Joe Recalex Alingasa Jr. said seven houses were swept away by the flashflood, as riverbank erosion intensified at the Andoon river in Sitio Medina, Barangay Rizal, San Carlos City.
CDRRMO personnel had to cut trees that fell on the main streets and hampered traffic flow in responding to and rescuing flood victims, Alingasa said.
The evacuees are temporarily staying at the Ramon Magsaysay Elementary School, Andres Bonifacio Central School, Santo Tomas de Villanueva-Recoletos and Greenville ES, Medina ES, and the Barangay 4 Health Center.
The city government already extended food and relief assistance to the dislocated families staying at the evacuation centers.
Gustilo said the flooding was triggered by strong rains that fell on the upland barangays and rushed downstream, causing some rivers and creeks to overflow.
“Our water system cannot hold the volume of water so it overflowed to the streets and houses in barangays 1, 5, 6 and parts of 2 and Rizal,” he said.
As early as 5 p.m. of Jan. 16, heavy downpour due to a thunderstorm was experienced over San Carlos, with heavy to torrential rains noted in the upland barangays of Rizal, Properidad, and Punao, that caused a sudden rise of the water level in portions of barangays 1, 2, 5 and 6 in the city proper, Alingasa said.
The CDRRMO personnel were augmented by the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, and other responders and volunteers in the evacuation of affected residents.
Engineer Arthur Batomalaque, senior environment management specialist of the City Environment Management Office, said plastic wastes that usually clog waterways were not the cause of the flood.
Batomalaque said the clogged waterways had been long addressed by the city government and the water immediately subsided, an indication of a non-clogged drainage system.
But he said that Mayor Gustilo plans to widen the waterways, including the exits of creeks and rivers, especially in Brgy. 1 that is a flood-prone area.
Two incidents of flashfloods also hit nine towns and cities of northern Negros Occidental on Jan. 1 and 9, respectively, with the 3rd district areas hardest hit.*