Mayor Cesareo Benedito (in green shirt) consults with PDRRMO chief Jeremias Alili (back turned, in blue shirt) regarding the evacuation of families to a temporary shelter in Brooke's Point on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. | Photo from Brooke's Point MIO

Some 2,713 families have been adversely affected by flooding in Southern Palawan so far, according to a report released Thursday morning by the province’s office for disaster risk reduction.

Of the figure, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said in a situational report that 2,293 (6,900 individuals) were from 16 out of 18 barangays of Brooke’s Point, 13 (37 individuals) from Brgy. Iraan in Rizal town, and 420 (1,700 individuals) from Brgy. Pulot Center in the municipality of Sofronio Española.

Many of the families impacted are currently taking refuge in various temporary shelters as rains continue to fall due to the extension of two low pressure areas (LPA).

Water rose quickly yesterday, according to Heirlin Hugo, whose home in Sitio Tigaplan, Brgy. Pangobilian in Brooke’s Point was among those affected by the flood.

A Bataraza rescue vehicle helps evacuate children out of their flooded homes in Brooke’s Point on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. | Photo from Brooke’s Point MIO

“Naisalba namin ang iilang kagamitan, pero naabot pa rin ng tubig. Ang iba naman ay naanod na ng baha,” she said. “Kauna-unahang pagkakataon na maranasan namin ang ganito kataas at kalawak na pagbaha na hindi namin inaasahan.”

The PDRRMO had not recorded any casualties as of the morning of January 5.

Yesterday, 512 families were evacuated, the majority of which were from Brooke’s Point. However, after evaluation and ongoing validation, the number of families increased to 2,713.

The PDRRMO also reported that six homes in barangays Imulnod and Ipilan in Brooke’s Point were completely destroyed by the floods.

Roads and bridges
As of January 4, Ipilan Highway, Mainit Spillway, Rizal-Mambalot, Tigaplan Bridge, and Tubtub Highway in Brooke’s Point; Salongsong National Highway in Iraan in the town of Rizal; Lamikan Bridge, Calumpang (National Bridge) and Sit. Talibu, Quinlogan Highway in Quezon; and Pulot Center National Highway were all under water.

The Cabingin Hanging Bridge in Brooke’s Point, on the other hand, had been completely destroyed by raging river flood waters.

Unlike yesterday, when a section of the national highway leading to Brooke’s Point was impassable, the Palawan News team was already able to gain access to the town this morning.

Flooded rice field in Brgy. Pulot Center, Sofronio Española, seen on January 5, 2023. | Photo by A. Ballarta (Palawan News)

Utilities restoration
Power services in the towns of Bataraza, Brooke’s Point, and Sofronio Española, are still out as of press time. However, the Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO) has begun restoration efforts to bring back power in the towns.

According to PDRRMO, Brooke’s Point, and Sofronio Española are also without water after water systems were shut down due to the presence of excessive sediments.

Weather report
As a result of two separate low pressure areas (LPAs), persistent heavy rain will continue to fall across the Visayas as well as parts of Mindanao and Luzon, including Palawan, this Thursday.

Benison Estareja, PAGASA weather specialist, stated that the LPA near Palawan, which was last observed around 3 a.m., is already 450 kilometers south of Pag-asa Island in Kalayaan, beyond the country’s area of responsibility.

“Patungo na sa pagitan ng Southern Vietnam at Malaysia,” said Estareja.

The second LPA, on the other hand, was last spotted some 50 kilometers east of Roxas City, Capiz, within the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR).

“Nagpapaulan din sa malaking bahagi pa ng Southern Luzon and Visayas. Itong dalawang LPAs, mababa ang tsansa na maging bagyo,” he stated. “Itong LPA sa gitnang bahagi ng ating bansa ay posible na ring malusaw ngayong araw, base na rin sa ating satellite animation.”

Estareja added that the western coast of Palawan has been included in the list of areas where a gale warning has been issued due to the possibility of strong winds and waves of up to 5 meters in height.

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