Forced evacuation of Marikina residents carried out

Posted at 06/24/2011 1:17 PM | Updated as of 06/25/2011 6:08 PM

MANILA, Philippines (6th UPDATE) - The local government of Marikina implemented a mandatory evacuation of residents near the Marikina River on Friday after its water level rose past dangerous levels.

Residents in barangays Tumana and Malanday started evacuating Friday morning after the river's water level rose to 16.1 meters.

Officials blamed the rapid  rise of the river to objects blocking its flow downstream.

More than 10,000 people are now in evacuation centers, local officials said.

Marikina Mayor Del De Guzman expects more people to be brought to safety if the river continues to rise.

The river's water level reached 18.7 meters as of 11:30 p.m. Friday, according to ABS-CBN's Jenny Reyes, quoting city disaster management officials.

It went down to 17.8 at around 5 a.m., Saturday, reported Charlie Mendoza, dzMM correspondent.

Alert level 3 has already been hoisted on communities near the river.

Paul Edward Sison, chief of the Marikina Public Information Office, said the evacuation centers are the Nangka Elementary School, the Malanday Elementary School, the Concepcion Elementary School, Bulelak covered court, and the H. Bautista Elementary School.

"Ang Tanong High School ay kasalukuyang inihahanda na rin upang maging evacuation center ng mga residente ng Brgy. Tanong kung sakaling magpapatuloy ang pagtaas ng tubig sa Marikina River na maaring magdulot ng pagbaha sa ibang lugar sa lungsod," Sison said in a press statement.

He said relief operations started Thursday night. These include distribution of food and medical aid.

"Kasalukuyan pa ring naka-alerto ang mga lokal na opisyal ng Marikina upang mapag-ibayo ang pagbabantay sa sitwasyon at makapagbigay ng gabay sa bumubuo ng Marikina City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council para sa monitoring, evacuation, relief operations para sa mga residente," Sison added.

He said people can call the city government's public information hotline 646-6451.

Marikina Vice-Mayor Jose Cadiz earlier said forced evacuation of all residents will be implemented once the river reaches 17 meters.  He said evacuation procedures are going smoothly as residents are reminded of the effects of tropical storm "Ondoy" in 2009.

"The bad experience of Ondoy makes it easier for them to compel people. People are voluntarily leaving for fear of the flood," ABS-CBN correspondent Jorge Cariño said in an ANC report.

Marikina was one of the hardest-hit cities when Ondoy submerged Metro Manila and surrounding provinces under floodwaters on September 26, 2009. At least 70 people were killed after floods hit Provident Village, Barangay Tumana, Barangay Nangka, Fortune and Barangka. - with reports from Jenny Reyes, ABS-CBN News; ANC