DUMAGUETE CITY, (PNA)–People in Bayawan City, Negros Oriental are scampering to safety as of this posting as two of its largest rivers have overflowed due to the more than 12-hour uninterrupted heavy rains which have flooded at least 13 barangays in that city.
Government and non-government agencies are now working double time as search-and-rescue operations are now under way in Bayawan City, where some areas are already flooded with knee-deep up to waist high water levels, said OIC provincial police director Supt. Alet Virtucio on Sunday.
So far, no casualty has been reported although an undetermined number of residents have already evacuated to the basketball court at the city hall, he said.
Landslides have been reported in the barangays of Villareal and Pagatban in Bayawan City.
Two other landslides in the adjacent town of Sta. Catalina, specifically in Baranga Alangilan, were also cleared by bulldozers and payloaders from the Department of Public Works and Highways and from local government after it rendered the national highway impassable Saturday evening.
Several people and vehicles were stranded for hours until the clearing operations started in the evening.
Supt. Virtucio has directed men from the Sta. Catalina police station and from the Provincial Public Safety Company to be deployed to Bayawan City immediately to augment rescue operations there.
In Bayawan City, initial reports said flooded areas are all poblacion barangays of Suba, Banga, Villareal, Pagatban, and Maninihon with knee-deep and in some areas even higher waters.
Some residents were reported to be on the roofs or on the second floor of their homes. A lone rubber boat has been rescuing people there, said Virtucio.
Adrian Sedillo of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) said Governor Roel Degamo has sent an engineering team on Sunday to help in the clearing operations at the landslide area along the national highway in Bgy Alangilan, Sta. Catalina.
He said heavy rains in Negros Oriental caused major rivers to rise at critical levels.
Local DRRMC teams have been dispatched to monitor the situation and the water levels of various rivers and also alerted residents at risk.
In Siaton, the subjects of close monitoring are the Canaway and Siaton Rivers. In Barangay Nagbalaye, Sta. Catalina, vehicles were stranded because of fallen trees blocking the road. Loader and other equipment and pruning team of Bayawan went to the area for clearing.
The Philippine Army has also sent two trucks plus two squads from the 79th Infantry Battalion to help in rescue operations in Bayawan City, said Brig. Gen. Francisco Patrimonio, commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade.
Meanwhile, the spillways in Malaunay and Ticala in Valencia town were also rendered impassable after the Okoy River water rose due to continuous rains. People along the river banks in Valencia and Dumaguete City have been alerted and local government units are on standby for possible preemptive evacuation.
Many parts of Negros Oriental have been inundated in the past three days following continuous and steady downpour that had resulted in flooding and landslides.