The state weather bureau on Tuesday urged the government and the public to prepare for possible floods and landslides, as they warned of “above normal” frequency of rains brought by the La Niña phenomenon which is expected to last until March 2008.
Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) weather branch head Nathaniel Cruz said “above normal” rains should be expected, which he said can be potentially devastating in Eastern Visayas and Mindanao.
The expected rains due to La Niña rains will be on top of at least one cyclone due to hit this month.
“Kung hindi tayo naghanda ang Guinsaugon at Ormoc tragedy at ang pagbaha sa Mindanao posibleng maulit (We must prepare for possible landslides and floods. Otherwise, the flooding and landslide tragedies that hit Guinsaugon in Leyte and the flooding in Mindanao may occur again),” Cruz said in an interview on dzMM radio.
“Di lang ito ngayong linggo kundi sa susunod na buwan next year, sa January, February or March. Maraming sector ang dapat maghanda (The rains will come not just this week but in the coming months, including January to March of 2008),” he said.
More than 1,000 were buried alive in 2006 when a landslide hit Guinsaugon in Leyte. Several residents in Visayas and Mindanao were displaced due to floods brought by days of continuous rains.
In the interview, Cruz said they are particularly keeping watch over the eastern part of the country, which he said is where the rains are likely to hit. He said these include the following areas:
• Cagayan Valley,
• Aurora and Quezon provinces,
• the Bicol region,
• Eastern Visayas, and
• Eastern Mindanao.
Cruz explained that La Niña rains may not pack much strength, but carries with them large volumes of rainwater that may eventually trigger floods and landslides.