IBA, Zambales—Heavy rains spawned by typhoon “Falcon” damaged more than P18.5 million in rice crops and other agricultural products, destroyed portions of dikes and triggered landslides, and forced 598 families to evacuate their homes amid rising floodwaters in Zambales since Friday.
Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. on Tuesday urged residents to be extraordinarily alert as Falcon (international code name: Khanun) was expected to further intensify, enhance the southwest monsoon or “habagat” and further bring about heavy rainfall of from 100 to 200 mm.
“Maraming tubig ito [This is a lot of rain]. Because 150 mm is about 6 inches using the rain gauge. So, even as we are ready with all the equipment for rescue and all the foodstuff for relief operations, kailangan pa ring mag-ingat ang lahat [Everybody still needs to keep safe],” Ebdane pointed out.
As Falcon pummeled Western Luzon over the weekend, the governor went around the province to assess the condition of crucial infrastructure like dikes and bridges, and instructed the various provincial government offices to maintain services to residents even during bad weather conditions.
“Everything’s under control, as it is right now, because we have prepared for all contingencies as early as when typhoon ‘Egay’ [Doksuri] began causing flooding in several areas,” Ebdane said on Tuesday.
He also noted that strong river current has damaged parts of protective dikes in the municipalities of San Felipe, Cabangan and San Narciso, minor landslides in Masinloc and Subic, damaged roads in San Marcelino, as well as a bridge and spillway in San Antonio.
But he assured the public that these will be repaired within just a few days. “Right now, some of the damaged infra are already being repaired,” Ebdane said.
Residents in flooded areas, however, remain in evacuation centers in 33 barangays in the province as of Tuesday.
The Zambales Provincial Disaster Risk-Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) said that 78 barangays in the 13 towns of Zambales were impacted by the typhoon, with 3,390 families and 10,544 persons adversely affected.
Floods also resulted in the pre-emptive evacuation of residents in 33 barangays, with 542 families or 1,908 persons temporarily staying in evacuation centers and 56 families or 399 persons sheltering outside the centers, the PDRRMC said.
Meanwhile, about 200 workers of Santa Cruz Solar Energy Inc., a firm putting up a 283-megawatt solar plant in San Marcelino town, had been evacuated to the town’s covered court because of heavy rains.
Zambales PDRRMO head Rolex Estella, however, noted that some of the evacuees have returned home, pointing out that from 609 families at 2:00 pm on Monday, the number dwindled to 583 that same night and to 542 on Tuesday morning.
Estella added that while Gov. Ebdane has not declared a state of calamity over the province, the provincial government already suspended classes in all school levels and work in both public and private offices.
It has also activated the provincial Emergency Operations Center, coordinated with various agencies concerned with public health and safety, brought Water Search and Rescue (WASAR) teams on standby, provided sand bags to Botolan and San Marcelino towns, and distributed relief food packs to affected and evacuated families.
Ebdane’s office and the PDRRMO also continue to monitor the situation closely, Estella added.