As most Filipinos greeted the New Year with a feast during the Noche Buena, expressing hopes for a more prosperous 2021 and offering prayers for peace, love and certainty amid the COVID-19 pandemic, some 15,258 Negrense families had to wade through at least knee-deep waters triggered by heavy rains that flooded many communities in a town and three cities of the Third District.
The downpour that started late evening of Dec. 31 coincided with the 1.9-meter high tide on the first hours of the News Year’s Day, spoiling the festive mood that usually highlighted every home’s celebration.
Residents whose houses were built near major waterways were most threatened, although the fast rising waters did not spare those who live in subdivisions.
Main thoroughfares were flooded as many had to spend the first day of the year at evacuation centers.
Others ended up cleaning their houses as some initially stayed on rooftops waiting for help.
In Silay City, 1,849 families or 5,718 individuals from 13 villages were affected by the floods in Barangays I, II, III, IV, V, Hawaiian, Bagtic, Balaring, E. Lopez, Guinhalaran, Lantad, Mambulac and Rizal.
Barangay IV was worst hit with 485 families affected, and Barangay 1 with 371.
Silay Mayor Mark Golez convened the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council in the afternoon of Jan. 1.
The Silay LGU allocated P1 million to purchase food packs for the flood victims.
Golez, citing records of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said similar flooding happens every 10 years in Silay City.
Similar floods happened in Silay in 2001 and 2011.
Both took place in the month of January, he added.
Silay CDRRMO head, retired Police Col. Alexander Muñoz, said they have received reports that the bridges in Barangays E. Lopez, Bagtic and Hawaiian had been damaged.
The City Engineer’s Office on Monday will estimate the cost of the extent of damage, he said.
Damage to crops, estimated initially at P52,000, was also reported from Barangay Guimbalaon, mostly planted to mongo and tomatoes.
In Barangay Kapitan Ramon, 18.8 hectares planted to rice were damaged, affecting 30 farmers.
Also affected were the livestock in Barangays IV, Hawaiian and Barangay E. Lopez.
In Barangay Lantad, about P442, 000 worth of bangus fingerlings from several fishponds were washed out by the flood.
E.B. Magalona Mayor Marvin Malacon, meanwhile, said 1,260 households were flooded on New Year’s Day.
Communities hit were Barangays Latasan, Sto.Nino, San Jose, Consing, Tanza and San Isidro.
The local government also extended food aid to affected households, Malacon said, adding that some spent several hours at the evacuation center but returned to their respective homes around noon of Jan. 1.
Malacon said he is expecting the Municipal Engineer’s Office and Municipal Agriculture Office to render damage reports on Monday.
Meanwhile, some 3,173 families were affected in seven barangays in Talisay, Dionela Madrona, head of the City Social Welfare Development Office said, adding that food packs and morning meals were immediately given to affected families.
Seventeen barangays were affected by the Jan. 1 floods in Victorias City, its City Social Welfare and Development Office reported.
CSWD Officer Joy Reunir said a total of 8,976 families had been affected but only 644 had moved to the different evacuation centers.
At least 37 houses were reportedly destroyed and 127 were damaged, the CSWDO report said.
The LGU also recorded one fatality.
Barangays 19-A and Barangay 9 were badly hit by the flood with 1,846 and 1,795 families affected, respectively.
Houses and main roads in the Canetown area were also under water.
The Victorias City Agriculture Office, headed by Samson Garzon, has placed the initial crop damage to P478,000 for rice and vegetables in Barangays 10, 11 and 14 covering more than 50 hectares.
Damage to livestock in Barangays 14 and 20 was pegged at P50,000. – MML