Floods, slides hit 9 towns, cities in Negros Occidental

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The Negros Occidental capitol in Bacolod City. (PNA FILE PHOTO)

BACOLOD CITY – Torrential rains due to a low pressure area brought floods to at least nine towns and cities in Negros Occidental, including its capital Bacolod City on Friday night.

In Bacolod, floodwaters in some areas reached neck-deep, particularly in portions of Barangay Singcang-Airport, where almost 100 persons sought shelter in a parish church.

Other flooded villages in the city were Barangays 2, 14, 27, 28, 35, 39, 40, 41, Mandalagan, Bata, Taculing, Pahanocoy, Sum-ag, and Alijis, based on the data from the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO).

Evacuees who stayed at the gymnasium of Bacolod City National High School were assisted by Red Cross volunteers who set up help desks.

Those who evacuated returned to their homes on Saturday morning after waters subsided.

Mayor Evelio Leonardia initially ordered a forced evacuation of residents in “high-risk” areas, including those living along the coastline and low-lying areas, as pre-emptive measure for the high tide expected at midnight. He later lifted the order after these areas were deemed safe from further flooding.

Leonardia said the floodwaters came from the mountains and combined with waters that overflowed from rivers.

Floods stranded hundreds of commuters, and the city government’s private garbage hauler deployed trucks to assist people waiting for transportation along the streets.

Almost 50 percent of the areas in Bacolod also experienced brownouts. In some places, power interruption lasted the whole night. Electricity was restored by Saturday morning.

In Negros Occidental, eight local government units also reported flooding, including the cities of Sipalay, Bago City, Talisay, La Carlota, and the towns of Hinobaan, Murcia, Binalbagan, and Pontevedra, according to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Division.

As of press time, there were no specific reports yet from other flooded towns and cities, except for Sipalay. Heavy rains brought flooding and landslide in portions of the southern city of Sipalay on Friday.

A flood in Barangay Cartagena forced 149 individuals to evacuate to a church and elementary school.

The highway was also flooded, which rendered the road impassable for almost three hours.

Some vehicles, including buses, were diverted to other routes going to Bacolod.

An ambulance going to Bacolod was stranded, and the patient was brought back to the infirmary.

Flood and landslide also hit a road in Barangay 4, rendering the area impassable for about three hours.