TROPICAL depression Maring dumped heavy rains on Luzon Tuesday, flooding metropolitan Manila and nearby provinces and causing landslides and flash floods that killed at least four people, according to disaster relief officials.
Six others were missing, including five residents of Laguna, where floods swept away a house next to a swollen river, officials said.
The other missing person was reported in nearby Cavite, where several areas were submerged.
Financial markets, government offices and schools were closed and at least 21 flights were canceled or diverted.
The weather bureau said Maring – the 13th weather disturbance this year in a country that averages 21 per annum – hit land in Quezon Tuesday morning and was moving northwest with winds of 60 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 100 kilometers per hour.
It warned that continued moderate to heavy rains in Manila and nearby provinces along the storm’s path could trigger more floods and landslides.
Disaster response official Elmer Espiritu said two brothers aged 14 and 17 died
when a landslide covered their home at the foot of a hill before dawn in Taytay east of Manila.
Officials ordered mandatory evacuations in risky areas after some residents refused to leave, he added.
In Quezon, a 2-month-old girl was killed and seven others were injured when a concrete wall around a hospital collapsed on three houses in Lucena city after heavy rains soaked the soil at the wall’s base, officials said.
Police also reported that a 12-year-old girl drowned in Pasay city while bathing in a river during the heavy downpour.
Twenty-two passengers on a bus stranded in floodwaters were rescued in Quezon, officials said.
A stronger storm, Talim, was located 865 kilometers east of the Philippines’ northern tip and was moving toward Taiwan and eastern China.
Talim was due to make landfall on Taiwan late Wednesday and officials there were especially concerned about mudslides in mountainous parts of the island. Taiwan’s government was contacting the heads of mountain villages, arranging free evacuations to shelters, and monitoring rivers and mudslide-prone areas.
Meanwhile, motorists and commuters experienced heavy traffic along major streets in the National Capital Region and nearby provinces following Maring’s downpour.
In its advisory, the Metro Manila Development Authority-Public Information Office stated that various parts of Metro Manila were flooded and not passable for light vehicles while other major roads had zero visibility.
The areas of España Avenue and Lacson Street in Manila, and Balintawak and A. Bonifacio Street in Quezon City, and Zobel Roxas going to Pasong Tamo and Vito Cruz were not passable to all types of vehicles as of 10 am.
Both south and north bound lanes of Circumferential Road 5-Greenmeadows and Lanuza were also reported not passable to light vehicles while floodwaters were knee deep at the east and west bound lanes of Ortigas La Salle Greenhills.
Zero visibility was also noticed along Ayala Avenue and Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue in Makati City, and Kalaw Street in Manila.
Gutter-deep floods caused slow moving traffic along the northbound lane of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue corner Taft Avenue in Pasay City; Sta. Mesa in front of SM Centerpoint Mall, Maria Clara Street, Araneta Avenue, Plaza Dilao;
Burgos Street in front of City Hall, Rizal Avenue, Pedro Gil, United Nations Avenue, Quirino Avenue, all in Manila; Ricardo Papa, Biak na Bato, Quezon Avenue, all in Quezon City.
Other flooded areas, according to MMDA-PIO chief Sharon Gentalian, were E. Rodriguez Avenue, Tomas Morato, Aurora Boulevard, Boni Serrano Avenue and Sgt. Rivera Street, all in Quezon City; Andrews Avenue, Tramo Road; MIA Road and Coastal Road in Paranaque City; Magallanes Avenue and Pasong Tamo Street in Makati City; Celia Street, Katarungan Street and Barangay Plainview San Pedro in Mandaluyong City, and Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard in Pasay City.
“Knee-deep floods were also reported in Maysilo in Mandaluyong City, 5th Avenue in Caloocan City, Eagle Street in Taguig City, Ortigas Avenue in Pasig City, and Blumenttrit Street in Manila,” said Gentalian.
In Makati City, Mayor Abigail Binay ordered the reactivation of “Libreng Sakay” deploying city-owned buses to help stranded commuters in the areas of PRC-Magallanes and Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue.
Classes were suspended in all levels in Metro Manila; provinces of Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Rizal, and Cavite.
Malacanang also cancelled government offices in the NCR and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) area due to the bad weather condition.
Thousands of bus commuters and private motorists from Batangas and Laguna to Manila were also stranded due to heavy traffic caused by flooded areas along the northbound lane of South Luzon Expressway before reaching Alabang in Muntinlupa.
“We were stranded for at least four hours going to Manila from Cabuyao because of flood along SLEX,” said Shiela Villanueva, a Manila-based businesswoman.
The MMDA has a composite team of eight personnel from its flood control engineer office and eight personnel from traffic discipline unit deployed in strategic locations to alleviate traffic and flooding problems.
Meanwhile, 12 domestic flights were cancelled on Tuesday due to bad weather condition, according to the Manila International Airport Authority.
The affected flights were Philippine Airlines PAL Express flight 2P 2921 and 2p 2922 Manila-Legaspi-Manila; Skyjet M8 421 and M8 422 flight Manila-Siargao-Manila and M8 816 and M8 817 Manila-Basco-Manila; Cebu Pacific (CebGo) flight DG 6031 and DG 6032 Manila-San Jose Mindoro-Manila, and DG 6041 and DG 6042 Manila-Busuanga-Manila.
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