DAGUPAN CITY – Rescue and relief operations are ongoing in the city following extreme flooding brought about by high tide and heavy rains spawned by enhanced southwest monsoon experienced in Luzon  starting last weekend.

This happened just weeks after the city was affected by the flooding brought by torrential rains caused by Typhoon ‘Inday’ and TD ‘Josie’ and the inflow of water from the Sinocalan River, which was the reason why the city was placed under a state of calamity.

This is the second flood to hit Dagupan in less than a month, that submerged the city and most areas of Pangasinan.

Chief Meteorological Officer Jose T. Estrada, Jr.  of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) Dagupan, said that climate change is the reason for the persistent heavy rains experienced all over the province.

Estrada also disclosed that one month’s volume of rainwater was dumped during the three days of continuous downpour, which led to the extreme inundation in the city.

“The intensity of the rainfall during those three days since Saturday is equivalent to one month. Yung normal rainfall sa isang buwan na 212mm, ay inabot tayo ng 215mm. Malakas yung naibagsak na ulan sa Pangasinan. Yung sa July naman (Typhoon ‘Inday’ at TD ‘Josie’), nakaabot tayo ng 1,169mm–  yung equivalent sa tatlong buwan ay naibagsak sa ilang araw lang,”  added Estrada.

This time, the release of water from the San Roque dam and the inflow of water from the Sinocalan River have also contributed to the floodwaters rising quickly in the city.

As of 7am on August 16, at least 578 families or 1,957 individuals have been rescued from their respected homes and moved to designated evacuation centers in the city.

The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) is still on high alert for those needing rescue, especially persons with serious medical cases and disabilities.

Mayor Belen T. Fernandez lauded the CDRRMO and for their quick response and preemptive rescue operations.

“I’m very glad that our rescue team is prepared and fully equipped with the tools they need to help our Dagupenos. Ang buhay ay napakahalaga. I’m also glad that our respective barangays and their BDRRMCs are very active. We were able to meet one week before this happened during our post-evaluation meeting and it empowered our barangays to also help and rescue their residents. We are always there to support them,” said Fernandez.

Mayor Fernandez is continuously monitoring the situation in all areas in the city to assess the causes of the extreme flooding in all barangays.

“Kaya ako umiikot mismo kasi gusto kong  malaman yung actual situation. Four years ago, I started the dredging, the river clean up and the building of dikes. But even with the dikes, the dam waters will still find its way here because we are a catch basin. Lahat din ng silt from other areas, bumabagsak sa atin. It is impossible that the water came only from the heavy rains – this is a perennial problem already,” said Fernandez.

Mayor Fernandez is also requesting assistance from the national government and its agencies such as the Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as Dagupan has suffered another setback.

Meanwhile, Fernandez assured that assistance will be extended to all 31 barangays in the city as relief and rescue operations are still ongoing.

“Right now, we are prioritizing the critical barangays but the city government is doing its best to help all 31 barangays,” said Fernandez.

Similarly, other areas in Luzon have also experienced heavy rains which led to flash floods in their areas. These include several areas in Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga and Metro Manila.

As of August 14, a total of 691,574 individuals from the 469 barangays across Luzon were affected by the monsoon rains as reported by the NDRRMC. (Verdelle De Vera/CIO)