Flooding caused by tropical storm “Leon” has started to subside in four areas in Coron island town despite rains continuously occurring, the chief of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) said Tuesday.
Engr. Fernando Lopez, the risk reduction officer of the municipality, told Palawan News that flooding in the reclamation area affecting Barangays 2, 3, and 5 in the poblacion and Bukal-Bukal in Guadalupe started to abate towards the afternoon of September 15 as the tropical storm makes its way to the West Philippine Sea.
“Dito sa may reclamation area, yong Barangay Poblacion 2, 3 at saka 5, at saka yong sa Bukal-Bukal, yong Guadalupe, mayroong ilog doon na nag-flash flood din — may mga pitong kabahayan din ang na-preemptive evacuation. Pero doon lang sa kanilang kamag-anak din nalipat na mas mataas ang area,” Lopez said.
He said the areas got flooded because heavy rains and the high tide occurred at the same tide in the coastal area.
The absence of canals and the high tide prevented excess water brought by the rains from going out to the sea.
He said former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado, the contractor of a project in the area, immediately responded to make a waterway so floodwaters can move towards the sea.
“Nagpanabay ang ulan at high tide noong umaga kaya po ganoon kataas ang tubig na, pero hindi naman kataasan. Kaninang morning ay high tide kaya hindi makalabas [ang tubig] at saka wala ring canal,” he said.
“Pero noong ma-open na, bumaba na rin bahagya kasi elevated naman ang mga silong ng kanilang mga sahig. At saka yong contractor, si vice [Ernesto] Mercado, nandoon naman kaagad, nag-ano kaagad ng backhoe niya — dalawang backhoe — para ma-open yong kanal,” Lopez said.
Lopez said they have prepared some schools to receive evacuees in case flooding comes back. Residents can evacuate to the schools near them.
In a press release Tuesday night, the Palawan Provincial DRRMO through the Provincial Information Office (PIO) reported that it had responded to the flooding incident in Coron due to TS Leon.
PDRRMO chief Jerry Alili said they deployed their personnel immediately in Coron after reports came in that the flood has already damaged several homes.
Flooding surprised residents
Jenelyn Godinez, a resident of Barangay 5 who contributed photos of the flooding to Palawan News, said also Tuesday that it the knee-deep floodwaters surprised them.
Godinez said she has lived in Coron for 16 years and never imagined that the flooding would happen in her barangay.
“Ay grabe po, hanggang tuhod na samin yong tubig. Sixteen years na akong nakatira sa lugar na ito, ngayon lang nangyari itong ganito. Nabigla kami kanina noong makita namin, nabulaga kami pagka gising namin. Sobrang lalim na ng tubig kasi sumabay sa high tide sa dagat, then yong lakas ng ulan nasa two hours pa lang ganoon na kalalim,” she said.
Godinez said three culverts where the water passes from a high ground might have also caused the flooding because they were placed “binalagbag” (crosswise) and not straight.
“Sanhi po ito ng culvert kasi may tatlong culvert ito sa front na dinadaanan ng tubig galing sa taas. Ang ginawa nilang culvert ay hindi straight, binalagbag lang so yong tubig doon, bubuhos sa amin. Maliit lang ang culvert na ginawa nila kaya napakahirap lumusot ng tubig kaya nagkanda apaw-apaw,” she said.
Although the water started subsiding in the afternoon, Godinez said it already damaged homes, a problem that came to them in Barangay 5 while they are under lockdown due to the transmission of COVID-19.
She said they were told to evacuate, but they insisted to remain in their homes for fear that they might contract the coronavirus disease in the temporary shelters.
“Ang sabi ng kapitan magpunta kami sa medyo ligtas na lugar kaya lang, dito sa amin ay hard lockdown kami. Napasabay sa sitwasyon kaya napakahirap. Sabi namin napakahirap mag-evacuate baka yong iba doon mamaya may positive kaya nag-stay na lang kami dito sa bahay,” she said.