Philippine Daily Inquirer, Jan. 27, 2006

2 killed, 170,000 people displaced by floods in Luzon
By Joel Francis Guinto

FLOODS following days of monsoon rains killed at least two people and affected more than 170,000 others in northern and central Luzon, officials said Friday.

Disaster relief officials said rescue workers and relief goods were sent to three northern regions where heavy rains and floods closed some roads, washed away bridges and houses, and triggered landslides.

A 21-year-old man drowned in Bayombong town, 210 kilometers north of Manila, while flash floods in Dingalan town, 110 kilometers northeast of the capital, swept 35-year-old Joel Tan to his death, the Office of Civil Defense said.

OCD Deputy Administrator Anthony Golez said about 100,000 people were evacuated to safer areas, while more than 70,000 others remained in their flooded homes in the provinces of Quirino, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Ifugao, and Kalinga, the OCD said.

Relief workers in rubber boats distributed food and other supplies Friday to some 400 families isolated in Ilagan town's Camunatan village.

Most of the residents sought refuge on rooftops, waiting for the floodwaters to subside.

A bus bound for Manila was stranded Thursday night along a flooded highway in Ilagan town, trapping passengers who had to be ferried from the vehicle by rescuers in rubber dinghies.

Also in Ilagan, 20 school children and their teacher who were trapped in their classroom were rescued Thursday, officials said.

Flooding in the towns of Dingalan, Dipaculao, and Baler in Aurora province have subsided but all roads leading to the province remain closed to traffic due to landslides, the report said.

Floodwaters coming down from the mountains of Aurora aggravated flooding in the towns of Bongabon in Nueva Ecija, Candaba in Pampanga, and low-lying areas in Bulacan province, the report said.

Landslides were also reported in Bangad village, Tinglayan town, Kalinga province, it said.

The northeast monsoon is forecast to bring more rains to Luzon Island, including Metro Manila, according to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the state weather bureau.

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