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Storm Helen hits North

Torrential rains brought by tropical storm ‘Helen’ have flooded many areas in the province of La Union, according to Ranilo Ipac of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in an exclusive interview with SecurityMatters early morning Wednesday.

Water, water everywhere. San Fernando City Shopping Mall in La Union was flooded as of 5:30 a.m. Photo Courtesy of Edgee Zarsadias.

He said areas in San Fernando City, Bauang, Caba, Bacnotan, Naguilian, Tubao, Luna, Santo Tomas, and San Gabriel have been flooded, either knee or waist-deep high, or in some even overhead and reaching the rooftops of houses, especially those living near the rivers.

“Wala namang storm surge. But kanina nagkaroon kasi ng high tide, kaya medyo nahirapan ang rescue team. Nagsalubong lang,” Ipac said.

“Mga 3 a.m. kami start magpa-evacuate,” according to Atty. Marivic R. Estrada-Rimando, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management officer in Naguilian, La Union. She also said in the phone interview at around 10 a.m. today that they’re still waiting for the water to subside.

Atty. Marivic Estrada-Rimando of the MDRRMC in Naguilian, La Union at work. Photo Courtesy of Princess Marzo

Ipac, who is also the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer, said help is underway. “Ongoing ang rescue operations with partners. Nandito iyong partners natin–Philippine Coast Guard, Navy, Bureau of Fire, Red Cross. Nandito sila.”

No casualties have been reported, according to Ipac. But 1,876 families were already affected and evacuated.

In Naguilian, Atty. Rimando said: “Dito sa poblacion, meron kaming apat na evacuation centers. Pero karamihan ng mga affected families, dito sa may Naguilian Civic Center sila bumagsak. We have 247 families all in all sa center.”

In Ilocos Norte, there were two deaths reported, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Storm Signal No.2, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), was raised over Cagayan, Calayan Group of Islands, Babuyan Group of Islands, Isabela, Northern Aurora, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Benguet, Ifugao, Mt. Province, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Apayao, Abra, Kalinga, and Batanes Group of Islands.

Signal No.1, meanwhile, was raised over La Union, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pangasinan, and Aurora.

(Update) As of 12 noon today, PDRRMC La Union said all roads within La Union remain passable.

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