FOOD PRICES TRIPLE AS FLOODS PARALYZE LUZON, VISAYAS
Manila, Oct. 24, 1998 - Prices of food items, particularly vegetables and fruits, tripled in Manila's markets as heavy rains spawned by supertyphoon Loleng (international code name Babs)have isolated population centers, including Metropolitan Manila, from provinces which are the city's traditional food suppliers.
Roads leading north to Central and Northern Luzon, and the highways to Southern Luzon and Bicol remain under water, with portions washed away or buried by landslides. Several bridges are now impassable and may take weeks to repair.
Inter-island ships carrying fruits, vegetables and fish from the Visayas remain in their ports of origin and would start sailing for Manila today after almost a week of waiting out the storm.
Cargo planes ferrying seafood from Panay, Negros, Cebu and Mindanao were likewise idle for several days and were scheduled to resume operations today.
Cabbage now sells for P70-P90 per kilo, up from P20 before typhoon Zeb hit Luzon last week. Other vegetables which registered 300% to 400% increased prices are: potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, green beans, okra, broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and all leafy greens.
The National Disaster Coordinating Council said among those submerged by floodwater in Metro Manila were the Tumana Bridge in Marikina, Commonwealth and Ilang-Ilang streets, as well as the Sto. Niño portion of the Mangahan Floodway.
In the Southern Tagalog region, flash floods occurred at Sta. Cruz and Torrijos towns in Marinduque; several towns of Laguna province; Sto. Cristo in Sariaya, Quezon; at least three barangays in San Roque town as well as the entire municipality of San Jose in Occidental Mindoro.
The NDCC said the Maburao River overflowed its bank, causing floods in Padre Burgos town in Quezon.
Also flooded were portions of Maharlika Highway in Baao, Camarines Sur, while stretches of the same road from Camalig to Polangui in Albay were rendered impassable due to fallen trees.
Those flooded in Bicol were the low-lying areas of Legazpi City, the towns of Daraga, Oas, Libon and Tabaco in Albay province, Iriga City and Naga City and the towns of Sipocot, Limangon and Bamban in Camarines Sur.
The Tumbahan and Dumacalay Rivers in Aklan also swelled causing flash floods in outlying areas, while fishponds in some towns of Negros Occidental were swept by floodwater.
Two gates of the Ambuklao Dam in Benguet as well as in Binga Dam in Pangasinan were opened by one meter to let out excess water, submerging rice fields and fishponds in maany Pangasinan towns along the Agno River.
Low-lying areas of Nueva Ecija were flooded, causing damage to some 88,000 hectares of rice land. Provincial Agriculturist Moises Vergara estimated the damage to rice farms at P341 million.
Loleng also battered areas around Mt. Pinatubo which was highly vulnerable to heavy downpour, unleashing five-foot-high avalanches of volcanic mud from the mountain's slopes.
A total of 13 barangays in three municipalities in Negros Occidental submerged in floodwater, forcing 1,154 families to move to higher ground.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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