Continuous rains in Baguio-Benguet breach August threshold

Continuous rains in Baguio-Benguet breach August threshold

BAGUIO CITY — Due to continuous rains, the threshold for August here and Benguet was breached Wednesday after the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) recorded a 310.6 millimeter (mm) rainfall in 24 hours.

Based on the latest report of the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC), the rainfall from 8 a.m. of August 13 to 8 a.m. of August 14 brings the total rainfall to 959.4mm since August 1 or 54.4mm beyond the threshold of 905mm.

Quoting PAGASA, Albert Mogol, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) director in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and the chairman of the regional DRRM council, said from 8 a.m. of August 3 until 8 a.m. of August 13, a total of 648.8mm was recorded from the continuous rain due to weather disturbances such as “habagat” and tropical storm Hanna.

In August 2018, Baguio and Benguet experienced over 1,600mm of rainfall due to the southwest monsoon that persisted for months.

On September 16 at the height of typhoon Ompong, 760mm rainfall was recorded, which triggered to the massive landslide in a mining village in Itogon, Benguet, some 20 kilometers away from Baguio City, leaving around a hundred people dead.

Almost all areas of Itogon have been declared highly susceptible to landslide by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

Mogol warned residents of the possibility of landslides due to drenched and soaked soil caused by continuous rains in the region.

Residents living at the foot of the mountains and on slopes are advised to be on alert for any signs of movements of the soil and cracks, and if possible, to initiate pre-emptive evacuation and avoid accidents.

As of August 14, the Department of Public Works and Highways reported the following several road closures due to rock and landslides as a result of the continuous rain:

The Tawang-Ambiong Road in La Trinidad, Benguet and the Gov. Bado Dangwa national road at Gambang and Cuba in Kapangan, Benguet are closed to traffic due to damaged roads and the Bangho Road section in Acop-Kapangan-Kibungan Road due to structurally compromised cable mesh protection.

Kennon Road remains closed to all types of vehicles due to the ongoing road repair and landslides; the Baguio General Hospital rotunda due to scoured and hanging footing of the welcome arc; the Baguio-Bua-Itogon Road at Upper Goldfield in Barangay Poblacion, Itogon and Long-long La Trinidad Road due to landslides.

Outside Baguio and Benguet, the Tabuk-Banaue Road, specifically the Matteled section, Dupligan, Tanudan, Kaling and the Busa section in Sabangan, Mountain Province at the Baguio-Bontoc Road is closed due to damaged roads.  Liza Agoot / PNA