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Habagat affects nearly 700K

Building evacuation centers make sense.

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Torrential rains unleashed by the enhanced southwest monsoon affected nearly 700,000 individuals in six regions of the country, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported Tuesday.

In its situational report, the NDRRMC said as of 6 a.m. yesterday a total of 154,571 families or 691,574 persons were affected in 469 barangays in Regions I, II, III, Calabarzon, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and National Capital Region (NCR).

The council said 36,877 families or 173,255 persons are receiving support inside and outside evacuation centers. Of these, 22,648 families or 102,315 individuals are currently residing inside 253 evacuation centers.

The council reported about 14,229 families or 70,940 persons are being served outside the designated evacuation centers.

Latest data gathered by the council show local government units and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) doled out a total of P14,685,597.24 worth of assistance to Regions I, III, CAR and NCR.

The report said flooding in 111 out of 310 submerged areas in Region I, Calabarzon and NCR subsided, including in all areas previously reported as flooded in the NCR.

At least 41 houses were damaged in Regions III, Calabarzon and CAR. Eleven of these were totally destroyed while 30 were partially damaged.

The council also said 12 out of 25 road sections affected by inclement in Regions I, II, III, Calabarzon and CAR are now passable while 16 out of 33 areas in these regions had their power restored.

Despite improvement of the weather, some 952 passengers, five vessels and 36 motor bancas remain stranded in Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Batangas, Romblon, southern and northern Quezon and Cebu.

The NDRRMC said two persons drowned—one in Marikina City and the other in Quezon City—while another was reported as missing.

SAP assures folk of action

As this developed, Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go assured Marikina City residents he would address the problem of flooding in the city through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Go talked to Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to check quarrying operations in the province of Rizal which residents blamed for the major flooding in Marikina.

The DENR ordered the suspension of all quarrying operations in Rizal and is readying an investigation on their operations.

“My sympathy is with them (Marikina residents). I’m disheartened by what I am seeing. That’s why I’m here, to show them that the government is here and sympathizing with them,” Go said.

Build ‘Evac’ Centers

Meanwhile, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) urged local government units (LGU) to build safer evacuation centers instead of using public school buildings, covered courts and other government buildings.

DILG officer-in-charge Eduardo Año said local chief executives should prioritize construction of dedicated evacuation centers by using a portion of 70 percent of their respective disaster funds.

He made the call following reports saying thousands of evacuees from floods huddled in public schools, sports facilities and other similar buildings.

Año said the increasing frequency and intensity of hazardous events requires immediate action from LGU to ensure the availability of sturdy evacuation centers that can safely accommodate their constituents in times of disasters.

He added the evacuation centers must not only be built in flood-free sites but should also withstand wind speeds of up to 300 kilometers per hour or a magnitude 8.0 earthquake on the Richter Scale.

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