Parts of Cordillera region experience landslides; Classes suspended in Benguet, Abra

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Baguio City (CNN Philippines) — Strong rain that battered the Cordillera region has prompted local officials to declare class suspensions in all levels today (July 6).

Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwan and Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan declared suspension of classes in all levels on Monday morning. La Trinidad Mayor Edna Tabanda also announced suspension of classes last night (July 5).

Governor Eustaquio Bersamin also suspended classes in all levels in the Province of Abra.

The Cordillera Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CRDRRMC) has recommended to local disaster councils to evacuate communities that are highly susceptible to landslides as rains brought by tropical storm Egay batter the region.

58 families evacuated

As of 10 a.m. on Monday, the CRDRRMC reported some 58 families have been evacuated in Benguet Kalinga and Apayao.

PAGASA-Baguio recorded more than 209 millimeters of moderate to heavy to intense rainfall on Saturday and Sunday which already exceeded the Cordilleras’ threshold for pre-emptive evacuation of 150 millimeters of continuous rainfall.

The public is also alerted on the high possibility of landslides, rockslides and flashfloods.

Public Storm Warning Signal No. 2 is raised in the provinces of Kalinga, Apayao and Abra while Signal No. 1 is raised over the provinces of Benguet (including Baguio City), Ifugao and Mountain Province.

Landslides, swelling of rivers

Andrew Alex Uy, CRDRRMC chairman and Office of Civil Defense regional director, says the region has been experiencing landslides and swelling of rivers due to the heavy to intense rain.

As a result of strong rain, seven roads remain impassable to vehicles in Baguio City, Benguet and Kalinga.

These are: Gurel-Bokod-Kabayan Road, Baguio-Itogon Road (Goldfield Section), Shilan-Beckel Road, Pico-Lamtang Road in Benguet, and Kennon Road and Naguilian Road in Baguio city are impassable to vehicles. The Liwan West-Babalag Macuta Road in Kalinga is also impassable due to flash flooding.

River swelling was also noted in the Akutan River in Barangay Caglayan in Conner, Apayao this morning making the Akutan Bridge impassable.

In Baguio City, a landslide trapped some vehicles in Purok 1, Irisan but the road was opened immediately at around 8:45 a.m. DPWH District Engineers performed prompt road clearing operations to all reported areas where road closures are experienced.

Three houses were partially covered with soil due to landslide in Sto. Tomas, Balacbac Road, Baguio City.

Another landslide incident was reported in Kibungan Village, Brgy Puguis proper in La Trinidad, Benguet, while minor landslides were reported in Lacub and Tineg towns.

In Bauko, Mt. province, 50-percent of the side slope collapsed resulting to landslide and toppling of posts of the Mt. Province Electric Cooperative.

Continuous monitoring

OCD director Uy says the CRDRRMC is not only worried about the rains brought by tropical storm Egay but also on the enhanced Southwest Monsoon or Habagat that will be experienced until Thursday (July 9).

Uy says this will mean continued rains in Baguio and Benguet in the next five days which will result in increased water saturation of soil, making landslides highly probable.

Among the areas highly susceptible to landslides being closely monitored by the CRDRRMC are Sitio Mamuyod in Barangay Ambassador in Tublay, Benguet; Barangay Samoki in Bontoc, Mountain Province; and the possible swelling of the Apayao and Chico Rivers in Kalinga and Apayao provinces.