Swollen rivers threaten Isabela, Cagayan with flash floods

CAGAYAN, Philippines – Flash floods occurred in various areas in Isabela and Cagayan as Severe Tropical Storm Rosita dumped heavy rains in both provinces early Tuesday evening, October 30.

Flooding was reported in some towns in the said provinces as Magat Dam continued to release water from its reservoir.

As of 8 pm on Tuesday, the water level in Magat Dam has reached 191.40 meters, over its critical level of 190 meters and near its spilling level of 193 meters. Four gates were opened 2 meters each to release 1,918 cubic meter per second.

More water released means greater threat of flooding in the low-lying areas, near Cagayan River and its tributaries.

On Tuesday afternoon, Joseph De Guzman, a resident of Sitio Pakak in Barangay Nuesa in Roxas, Isabela, took to Facebook to ask for rescue as the river near them rapidly rose, submerging their homes and damaging their properties.

In a phone interview, De Guzman said his family has been rescued, but expressed worry about those who were still trapped in their community as river's water level continued to rise.

The provincial government of Isabela said the number of evacuees increased to more than 23,000 as of Tuesday afternoon.

Unpassable roads, bridges

Local authorities have also advised motorists of closed roads and bridges due to swollen rivers.

In Isabela, the Siffu Bridge in Roxas town was damaged by the river's raging waters, prompting the closure of Santiago-Tuguegarao road. Motorists are advised to take the Maharlika Highway.

These overflow bridges are also not passable to all types of vehicle:

In Cagayan province, at least 5 overflow bridges were also reported unpassable due to swollen river. These are the Pinacanuan Overflow bridge in Tuguegarao City; Bagunut and Abusag Overflow Bridges in Baggao town; Tawi Bridge in Peñablanca town; and Maguilling-Dugayang Overflow Bridge in Piat town.

Disaster officials here expect higher water level in the rivers as it considered the catch basin of rain waters from Isabela, Cordillera, and neighboring provinces. – Rappler.com