Floods in Bulacan drive residents to rooftops
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Floods in Bulacan drive residents to rooftops

Bulacan : Philippines | Oct 01, 2011 at 4:06 AM PDT
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CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan - Residents in several towns of Bulacan climbed rooftops and called for help after dams in Central Luzon released water in preparation for Tropical Cyclones Quiel and Ramon.

Bulacan Governor Wilfredo Alvarado in an interview on GMA's "News to Go" on Friday morning said the water released from the Angat and Ipo dams was too much for the Bustos dam, which continues to release water. All three dams are located within Bulacan province.

“Part of the problem lies in the management of the Angat and Ipo dams,” Alvarado said

The governor is hoping that after the flooding they will discuss the issue with dams management to correct everything. “We have been raising the issue for the past several years," he said.

He said technical personnel in the Angat and Ipo dams are prevented from releasing water until it is too late.

Alvarado said this the first time that Calumpit and Hagonoy experienced this kind of flooding since the 1970s.

At least 170 families had been evacuated to the San Pedro High School in Hagonoy.

Report said local officials in Hagonoy had been advising residents to evacuate as early as Thursday noon.

Floods did not spare Emilio Perez District Hospital in Hagonoy, prompting the transfer of patients using a dump truck.

Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) hydrologist Elmer Caringal said the floodwaters that hit Bulacan are from Ipo and Angat Dams. “Aside from the dam's excess water, the rainwater from the mountains are now starting to flow into the province's rivers," he said.

“Two dams could not afford to slow down the release of water due to the looming danger of rain from Typhoon Quiel (Nalgae),” he said

Dam authorities generally seek to balance the need to generate power and the duty to protect public safety. Sudden rainfall, such as what could occur when Typhoon Quiel arrives, can rapidly fill the dams, risking a catastrophic deluge.

Lory Tan, head of environmental group WWF-Philippines calls for permanent flood control solutions that don't make use of Bulacan's rivers. "The current practice of using rivers along the Bulacan bayshore to discharge excess dam water is not climate smart," she said.

"Although we cannot control rainfall but we can manage water flow,” Tan added

Meanwhile, Science Undersecretary Graciano Yumul Jr. also warned of a second cyclone to come after Quiel - a tropical depression to be codenamed Ramon that is expected to enter Philippine Area of Responsibility in the coming days. –Ronald Madrid Leander

ronaldleander is based in Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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