Angeles City Spared From Major Flooding From Typhoons – by Gene Davis
It seems as though Mother Nature is taking aim on the Philippines this year. Storm after storm has brought major flooding, land slides and death. Luzon was inundated with more rainfall than has been recorded in some forty years. But for the most part Angeles City and most of the local surrounding area escaped these disasters. Even as Typhoon Ondoy wreaked havoc in many parts of Pampanga, it spared this city from much of the damage and flooding. City Administrator Mark Allen Sison said during the opening of the Metro Gaisano Department Store here, said the city was fortunate that there were no major damage.
The typhoon brought heavy downpours that caused flooding in many towns and claimed the lives of some 14 people in Barangay Baño in Arayat in a mudslide. According to Sison, the Ospital ng Angeles is open 24 hours for emergencies not only for the city’s constituents but for neighboring towns as well. “All our roads are passable and our electric and water utilities have been restored,” he said, adding that after their meeting at the City Disaster Coordinating Council, city officials will distribute relief goods for affected families in Arayat and San Fernando.
The Provincial Board (PB) as a committee en banc conducted a hearing that will set a geological hazard (geohazard) study and survey for Mt. Arayat. The landslide, which residents there claimed as “rare” and have not occurred for many years, triggered much speculation as to its cause, including alleged mining and drilling activities in the top of Mt. Arayat.
The regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here, led by regional executive director Ricardo Calderon, as well as officials of the Geological and Mining Bureau, has since denied any “illegal” activity there, and claimed the killer incident was purely “natural” in cause. However, some residents there, who asked not to be named, said in the midst of their evacuation from the 700-meter danger zone declared by DENR, that “something mysterious” was going on in the top area of the mountain before the landslide and the onslaught of typhoon Ondoy.
The residents insisted they heard a loud explosion before the landslide.
The incident prompted Guiao to immediately summon the en banc and call for a Geo-hazard of “sleepy” Mt. Arayat, shed light on the incident and avert the recurrence of such a disaster. Geo-hazard assessment and study calls for the creation of “geohazard maps” that provide information on areas prone to landslides, liquefaction, subsidence and other ground instabilities.
These also identify potential areas for relocation for residents of areas prone to floods, landslides and other natural calamities.
More locally, here in Magalang, we had several large trees blow down. Two of which were at the elementary school. One even fell through the block wall surrounding the school. A few of our streets looked like the Colorado River each time the rain came; but no houses or businesses were flooded that I know of. The only noticeable problem now that the storms are gone is the lack of produce at our local public market. With the road still closed between here and Baguio City everyone is making due with canned goods and bananas.
With drier weather returning, all we as a nation and community can do now is start the cleanup and try to go on with life.
As expats, we owe it to our host country of the Philippines to pitch in any way and anywhere we can to help those around us. Next time, if there is a next time, we could easily be the ones in need of such help.