Rescue authorities assists residents in Barangay Manlag, El Nido as they escape floodwaters caused by heavy rains due to a low pressure area on July 15, 2021.

Disaster and law enforcement officials in El Nido are monitoring five barangays affected by torrential rains on Thursday afternoon that resulted in massive flooding and forcing residents to flee their homes.

It is still unclear how many families have been evacuated and how much worth of property was damaged. Two poblacion barangays were greatly affected.

Rescue efforts to move residents from flooded areas in El Nido.

On Thursday night, July 15, authorities rescued around 50 people, including a 4-month-old infant, from floods in Sitio Danat, Barangay Manlag, after a river overflowed due to heavy rains.

They were assisted by personnel of the Coast Guard El Nido Station, 23rd Marine Company of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-3, and Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO).

Non-stop rains began as early as 3 p.m. in the town, according to Emergency Operations Center (EOC) chief and Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer (MDRRMO) Raymond Osorio. Floods only subsided at around 11 p.m., affecting barangays Masagana, Corong-corong, Villa Libertad, Barotuan, and Manlag.

“Patuloy pa rin ang ating monitoring. Sana hindi na umulan ng malakas,” Osorio said in an interview on Friday.

He explained that flooding is not unusual for barangays Masagana, Corong-Corong, Villa Libertad, and Barotuan. He attributed the flooding to faulty roadwork and flood control measures, especially in the national highways. Only three families were evacuated in Barangay Masagana, and they are now staying with relatives after evacuating their homes.

“Sa DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) na ‘yong sa mga national highway, katulad sa Nasigdan [Masagana], sa Lio [Villa Libertad] at sa Abot-Kaya [Corong-corong], sila na dapat managot. Pero ‘yong sa Manlag, mukhang umapaw lang talaga ang ilog at hindi na kinaya, kaya bumaha,” he said.

For Barotuan, the flooding happened in a rice field, with no reported damages or casualties, he added.

The MDRRMO is still waiting for a consolidated list of affected families in Sitio Danat, Brgy. Manlag. Osorio added that barangay officials are working on social aid for nearly 50 people, including a four-month-old baby.

Photos on social media began circulating on Thursday night showing flooded houses, cars, and motorists stuck in raging waters, and rivers overflowing in different areas of the town. Many lamented poor roadwork and faulty infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Coast Guard Commander Severino Destura said that despite their focus on the West Philippine Sea issues, they remain committed to their rescue duties whenever it’s needed.

“Sa kabila ng pagiging abala ng PCG sa issue ng West Philippine Sea ay nakatutok pa rin at ano mang oras ay handang magbigay tulong sa komunidad, lalo na sa ganitong pagkakataon kung saan higit silang nangangailangan,” Destura said (with a report from Arphil Ballarta)

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.