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(2013) RAINS CONTINUE IN OLONGAPO, SLIDES KILL 24 IN ZAMBALES

FLOODWATERS have subsided in most parts of Olongapo City and Zambales but the aftermath of the massive flooding today can be hardly assessed just yet.

“This is the worst flood to hit Olongapo City,” said Rani Magno, Chief of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Fire and Rescue Dept.

At least one death has been reported in the city with the recovery in Bgy. West Bajac-Bajac of the cadaver of a female victim from Bgy. Sta. Rita who was said to have been swept by strong currents along with her husband, who survived by clinging to a floating tree trunk until help arrived.

WASHED AWAY. A van is lodged beneath Elicaño Bridge near Gordon College. Floodwaters swept through most parts of Olongapo City at dawn today destroying both public and private properties of yet undetermined amount. (SBNphoto by Vic V. Vizcocho, Jr.)

Rains poured hard overnight accompanied by strong winds, knocking-off electric power supply in the city and flooded 16 of its 17 Barangays by 5:00 AM.

Acting Mayor Rodel Cerezo announced the suspension of classes in all levels, both in public and private schools, shortly before 6:00 AM.

Olongapo City Mayor Rolen C. Paulino is in the United States for a city sisterhood pact in Virginia, according to the Mayor’s Office. He has sent word, ‘though, that he is cutting short his trip to attend to the needs of his city and constituents.

Floodwaters have subsided, however, except in Barangay Sta. Rita, where floodwaters rose more than 10 ft. deep, surprising even residents whose houses line the riverbanks and have been used to the perennial flooding.

PUBLIC MARKET. Among the hardest hit area by the flood in Olongapo City was Bgy. East Bajac-Bajac, location of the city's public market, where water rose reportedly over five (5) feet. SBNphoto by Vic V. VIZCOCHO, Jr.

In Zambales, authorities believe a family of 5 was buried in a landslide at Brgy. Balaybay in Castillejos town. Only one (1) body has been recovered yet but operations have been stopped as darkness set in and  heavy rains continue, threatening the safety of rescuers.

In Subic town, a total of 15 people are believed to have died in landslides that hit Bgys. Wawandue and Naugsol while authorities in San Marcelino town reported four (4) dead in a landslide at Bgy. Buhawen.

Mud has replaced waters in places where flood have completely subsided but residents near coastal and riverbank areas remain fearful that water will rise again when high tide sets in at approximately 12:50 AM, only hours from now.

In the Subic Bay Freeport, most employees who are mainly residents of Olongapo City and nearby areas, were not able to report for work today due to the floods.

Some major roads in the Freeport were also flooded causing the re-routing of vehicular traffic.  (Vic V. VIZCOCHO, Jr.)

FREEPORT FLOODS. The Subic Bay Freeport also suffered floodings in some major roads including Manila Ave. (photo) where the current main gate leads from Rizal Ave. in the neighboring City of Olongapo which suffered its most severe flooding in recent history. (SBNphoto by Vic V. VIZCOCHO, Jr.)
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