UNUSUAL RAINFALL

Posted on September 5, 2012

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After quake, get ready for more rain

 

Heavy rains over the weekend triggered three landslides in Talisay City that left the Manipis Road, a vital acess road road to Toledo City on the west coast, passable only by motorcycle.

Passengers have to get off and walk over piles of boulders and soil, before getting back on the motorcycle.

“This is so hard for us. We need to go to Tabunok, Talisay city to buy groceries. It’s difficult and dangerous to travel but we have no choice,” said Maximina Nibrea, a Toledo city resident.

The downpour on Saturday let loose an above normal volume of water, equivalent to nearly one month’s worth of rain.

“The average rainfall for the month of September is is about 188 millimeters. Last Saturday alone, it was about 100 millimeters,” said Mactan airport general manager Paul Villarete.

At the airport, the drainage overflowed in the domestic passenger arrival area, an unusual occurence.

The baggage claim area was shut down for an hour and a half from 1:36 p.m. while cleaners went to work.

Villarete said design standards of the drainage system have to be changed to cope with the effect of climate change which is seen in higher than usual rainfall.

The downpour followed a 7.6 magnitude earthquake that shook Cebu and other parts of the Visayas, more powerful than the 6.9 tremor that struck last Feb. 6.

No major damage was reported in Cebu though in the recent quake, however. The epicenter off the coast of Guian, Eastern Samar occurred in the sea. It would have been catastrophic if the earthquake, described as carrying the energy of “32 atomic bombs”, had occurred on land.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 7 repeated its advisory to check areas in 80 barangays in Cebu proince which are at risk of landslides and flooding durng the wet season amid weather bureau forecasts that heavier rains are still expected despite the exit of typhoon “Ambo.” (See separate story).

The landslides occurred in barangay Campo 4, Talisay City where rocks and soil were dislodged in the evening of Saturday and Sunday, and early yesterday morning.

This occurred along a kilometer length of an ongoing road widening project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

No injured persons were reported but about 250 grade school pupils were unable to go to school in Campo 4 because parents feared for their safety.

“It’s too dangerous for my kids to walk to school,” said mother Dulce Labora, whose children are Grades 2 and 3.

Teachers in Campo 4 Elementary School said they don’t know when classes can resume with the risks posed.

“I just hope the road will be cleared soon so half of our students here can attend their classes,” said Armida Torres, OIC principal, who is waiting for DPWH crews to clear the roads.

About 65 families residing near critical areas were advised by barangay officials to evacuate to a barangay hall and the nearest school but many don’t want to move.

“I think I’m safer in my own home,” said resident Oping Bregondo, adding that this was her first time to experience a landslide.

The Manipis road is used by people travelling by road from Toledo City in the west coast and Cebu City mountain barangays to go to Talisay City and lowlands of Cebu City.

 

AIRPORT FLOODING

At the Mactan airport, when the drainage overflowed in the domestic passenger arrival area, passegers had to temprarily use the international arrival baggage counter.

The worst occurred between 1:02p.m. and 1:50 p.m. when 86 millimeters of rain was recorded, said manager Villarete.

Storm drains in the Mactan airport are as old as the structure built in 1995, he said.

Even with an unclogged drainage line, if the same large volume of rain would fall, “the water can’t be accomodated,” he said.

The airport fire department conducted flushing operations past 12 midnight to push out impounded water in the domestic arrival area up to an open ditch canal.

Zero visibility due to heavy rains prevented eight flights from landing on time on Saturday. One flight was diverted to Iloilo city.

Water also dripped on the check-in counters and some of the air bridges, based on the report of airport grounds operations division manager Engr. Manuel Lopez. /Carine M. Asutilla and Jessa J. Agua, Correspondents

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