Creation of Dam Committee now under discussion in NDRRMC — Usec. Solidum

Marje Pelayo   •   November 23, 2020   •   901

MANILA, Philippines — The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) is currently discussing the creation of a committee that will focus on dam operations in the country.

Ang usapan sa [What’s been discussed in the] NDRRMC during the last emergency meeting ay magkaroon ng isang kumite na permanente na tumingin talaga sa issue ng [is the creation of a committee that will permanently address the issues in] dam safety operations,” Science and Technology Undersecretary Renato Solidum confirmed in an interview with UNTV.

The creation of such a specific committee is what the NDRRMC sees as a solution to ensure the safe operation of dams across the country in consideration of the surrounding communities.

The NDRRMC is composed of agencies concerned with disasters and emergencies. 

Following the deluge in Cagayan and Isabela provinces caused by Typhoon Ulysses, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año proposed the transfer of dam management to the NDRRMC, especially the control on when to release water during the onset of a typhoon.

Many see the release of water from Magat Dam as one reason that worsened the scenario in the said provinces during the typhoon.

Solidum said the proposed committee would not only oversee the releasing of water in dams but every aspect that would ensure dam safety in all forms of disaster such as earthquakes.

The official clarified, however, that the expertise of agencies currently managing the dams like the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and dam operators will still be utilized even after dam management is transferred to the NDRRMC. 

What needs further improvement, Solidum said, is risk communication especially the aspect of giving warning signals to communities on potential threats of the dams.

“When it comes to dam operation, ang makakatulong dito yung [what will help is the] further enhancement of communication down to everyone na magamit siguro yung mga [with the use of] available text blasts o ano pang magandang pamamaraan na ginagawa [or other available means that can be utilized],” he stressed recommending early evacuation of residents from areas most prone to disasters once the PAGASA announces the need to evacuate.

Meanwhile, the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) is now planning to conduct an assessment in rivers and other waterways to determine how time changed their physical features such as their size or capacity.

The NAPOCOR is also considering pushing through with the creation of a National Dam Safety Program (NDSP).

“Mayroon na kaming naging initial na coordination dyan sa NDSP at tuloy-tuloy naman iyon [We had an initial coordination on the NDSP and it’s been ongoing],” confirmed NAPOCOR Dam Management Department Manager Conrado Sison Jr.

“Ang aim is magkaroon tayo ng isang entity or bagay na mag-address nga itong problemang ito [The aim is to have an entity that will address all these problems],” he added. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

19 confirmed dead, 13 missing in wake of STS Maring

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The number of confirmed deaths due to the onslaught of Severe Tropical Storm Maring has reached 19.

According to the latest situational report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) on Thursday (October 14), there are a total of 30 reported deaths with 11 still being validated. Out of the 19 confirmed, 14 were from Ilocos Sur, 4 were from Palawan, and one was from Pangasinan.

Flooding caused a majority of the fatalities from the weather disturbance.

Nine deaths in Benguet, which include five minors, are still being validated. This was after several landslide incidents were reported in the area.

The number of missing individuals is at 13, with one still undergoing validation. Among the 13 missing, 5 are from Palawan, 3 from La Union, 3 from Ilocos Sur, 1 from Ilocos Norte, and 1 from Pangasinan.

A total of 46 roads and 14 bridges in Regions 1, 2, MIMAROPA, and CAR remain impassable

Meanwhile, cost of damage to agriculture in Regions 1, 2, 6 MIMAROPA, and CAR is estimated at P1 billion

Maring exited the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Tuesday, October 12. AAC

Reported deaths due to STS Maring now at 13 — NDRRMC

Maris Federez   •   October 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The death toll reported in the wake of Severe Tropical Storm Maring is now at 13, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

Three people were reported injured, while 9 are missing.

The NDRRMC said that the said figures are still under validation except the one confirmed missing in Ilocos Norte due to drowning.

Overall, STS Maring has affected 21,511 individuals or 6,111 families, displacing 2,837 households in 237 barangays in Region 1, Region 2, Region 3, MIMAROPA, CARAGA, and CAR.

Forty-two roads are still not passable in Region 1 (17) and CAR (25), while four bridges remain impassable in Region 2 (2), Region 1 (1), and CAR (1).

The NDRRMC further said that a total of 102 cities/municipalities experienced power interruption/outage. Of which, power supply in 58 cities/municipalities was already restored.

Meanwhile, a total of 6 ports were reported non-operational/suspended trips. Of which, 2 ports were already restored in CARAGA, the agency added.

Damage to agriculture is estimated at Php493,766,744.67.

STS Maring leaves 9 dead, 2 injured, 11 missing — NDRRMC

Maris Federez   •   October 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Severe Tropical Storm Maring leaves nine dead, two injured, and 11 missing as it exits the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported Tuesday, October 12.

According to its regional arm, four fatalities were recorded in La Trinidad (3) and in Itogon (1), Benguet due to landslides caused by STS Maring. One was reported in Claveria, Cagayan due to drowning; while four were recorded in Barangay Batang-Batang, in Narra, Palawan which was caused by a flash flood.

The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) also reported that the two injured victims were from Buguias and Itogon, Benguet.

The 11 missing individuals were reported in landslides in Dominican Mirador (3), Central Ambiong in La Trinidad (2), and Barangay Tuding in Itogon (1) in Benguet. One is reported missing Badoc, Ilocos Norte where search and rescue (SAR) operation is still underway. Four are also recorded missing in Barangay Batang-Batang, in Narra, Palawan due to flashflood.

The agency said that 15 incidents of flooding and four incidents of landslides were reported in the wake of STS Maring.

Incidents of flooding were recorded in Regions 1, 2, MIMAROPA, 6, and CAR.

A total of 478 families and 1,638 individuals were affected by STS Maring, displacing 259 families or 889 individuals in Regions 2, MIMAROPA, and CAR.

STS Maring has also affected 24 roads and 10 bridges which as of this writing is still not passable. These are in Region 1 (six roads),  Region 2 (4 roads, 10 bridges), and CAR (14 roads).

The NDRRMC also said that the Ambuklao Dam has opened 8 gates and will start the gradual release of water on Tuesday afternoon after its water level reached 751.09 meters out of the Normal High Water Level (NHWL) of 752.00 m.

Binga Dam, on the other hand, has opened 6 gates and may start a gradual release of water in the afternoon as the water level reached 574.41 out of the 575 meters NHWL.

Meanwhile, the water level in the San Roque Dam which catches the water from Binga Dam is now at 275.14 meters out of the 280 meters NHW. The dam may start the gradual release of water Tuesday afternoon, said the NDRRMC.

The NDRRMC said local government units have requested support at the RDRRMC level.

The RDRRMCs have deployed their teams for clearing and SAR operations, in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Philippine Navy, the Philippine Coast Guard, and the Philippine National Police.

The agency is also currently conducting Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDANA) in the affected areas.

The NDRRMC will also deploy its air assets for aerial assessment in Region 2 as soon as weather permits. —/mbmf

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