At least 8 people have died and thousands have evacuated their homes after floods and landslides in the Philippines over the last few days.
Heavy rain affected the southern island of Mindanao and later the central island ground of Visayas after an area of low pressure developed in to Tropical Depression “Vicky” on 18 December.
The state run Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported on 20 December that 4 people had died in floods in Surigao del Sur Province and 2 in Agusan del Sur in Caraga Region.
The country’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported on the same day that 5,119 people had moved to evacuation camps in Caraga Region and 345 in Davao region.
In the central Visayas islands, flooding affected Negros Oriental and Cebu in Central Visayas Region. According to NDRRMC, dozens of homes were damaged or destroyed by floods in Cebu. Media reported 2 people died after heavy rain triggered a landslide in Leyte in Eastern Visayas region.
Further north, heavy rain – said to be influenced by the northeast monsoon and Tropical Depression Vicky – also affected areas of Cagayan Province, Cagayan Valley Region (Region II).
Cagayan Provincial government reported around 2,000 people affected across the locations of Tugegarao City, Ballesteros, Alcala, Amulung and Solana, as of 20 December. Later local media reported at least 10,000 people had evacuated their homes.
The heavy rain prompted authorities to release water from the Magat Dam, increasing river levels downstream.
As of 20 December, five spillway gates of the dam were open with the reservoir water level at 191.36 metres. Meanwhile the Cagayan River at Buntun Bridge in Tuguegarao City reached 11.65 metres late on 20 December, which is considered critical level (10 to 12 metres). The river is predicted to reach over 12 metres in the coming hours.