3 DAYS OF HEAVY RAINS SPAWN FLOODING ACROSS TARLAC

TARLAC CITY, August 8, 2003 By Benjie Villa (STAR)  - Classes in pre-schools and elementary and high school levels here were suspended yesterday as three days of continuous heavy downpour spawned by a "monsoon trough" caused severe floods across the province.

Retired Brig. Gen. Virgilio Florendo, head of the provincial disaster coordinating council, informed Gov. Jose Yap Sr. that they were still waiting for reports from local disaster coordinating groups on the extent of damage wreaked by the torrential rains and floods.

The other day, Florendo said officials of low-lying Barangay Sta. Maria here requested for 50 jute sacks for sandbagging operations along a breached portion of the Tarlac River dike.

The Tarlac River, which snakes through Tarlac’s northern towns, is a major catchbasin of floodwaters cascading from the slopes of Mt. Pinatubo and the rest of Central Luzon’s western mountain ranges.

Should the heavy rains continue until last night, Florendo said traffic authorities might be forced to close the Tarlac-Sta. Rosa route, the main link between this province and Nueva Ecija, as the Rio Chico River in La Paz town would swell.

The Rio Chico River is a catchbasin of floodwaters coming from Nueva Ecija. It is supposed to discharge excess floodwaters into Pampanga’s waterways and then into Manila Bay, but it is now heavily silted by volcanic debris from Mt. Pinatubo’s 1991 eruption, thus often causing severe flooding in La Paz and neighboring Zaragosa town in Nueva Ecija.

Meanwhile, the Victoria town proper is reportedly submerged in knee-deep floodwaters after the Canarem Lake overflowed.

Florendo said water in other major waterways in the province, namely the Camiling, Batacan, O’Donnell, Sacobia and Lucong rivers in the towns of Camiling, San Clemente, Capas, Bamban and Concepcion, respectively, has been monitored to be rising to "above normal" levels.

In Mayantoc town, the upland Barangay Labney has reportedly been isolated since Tuesday night after the lone dirt road leading to the village has been rendered impassable by intermittent landslides.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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