Cagayan province was placed under state of calamity on Saturday night as massive rescue and relief operations have been intensified.
The floodwater level in many areas in the province remains high due to Typhoon “Ulysses.”
Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba, in a telephone interview, said at least 288 barangays here have remained underwater.
At least 43,838 families or 174,940 individuals were affected and many of them were without food, electricity, and clean water, Mamba added.
The province has prepared for the typhoon and even initiated preemptive evacuation, he said.
However, “the enormous volume” of water was not expected, he added.
Adding to the woes on water from watersheds and releases from Magat Dam, the “big problem was the denudation of our forests and the heavy siltation of our river beds,” Mamba said.
MILITARY ASSISTS IN RESCUE
The Philippine Navy (PN) on Saturday said it will deploy two water search-and-rescue (WASAR) teams to augment the current inter-agency rescue efforts for flood-affected families and residents of Cagayan.
Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas, PN public affairs office chief, said the WASAR-trained teams will come from the Naval Forces Northern Luzon facility in San Fernando, La Union.
“The two teams will be equipped with two rubber boats and other life-saving equipment. Some members of the DRRTs (disaster response rescue teams) are from Naval Special Operations Group-Northern Luzon who have expertise in WASAR Operation,” she added.
These units are now on standby and ready to be deployed upon the availability of air assets and fair weather for their airlift going to Cagayan.
The teams will augment the current AFP DRRTs deployed and spread out in 12 provinces and 31 municipalities in Region 2.
“The deployments of the Navy’s fleet and marine forces for search, rescue, and retrieval operations are part of the Navy’s ongoing efforts to assist other government agencies in responding to our fellow Filipinos being affected by the wrath of Typhoon Ulysses in Region 2,” Roxas said.
Meanwhile, two Philippine Air Force (PAF) Bell 412 helicopters from the 207th Tactical Helicopter Squadron took off from Villamor Air Base, Pasay City Saturday for rescue missions related to flood-battered Cagayan.
The two helicopters were used by the 505th Search-and-Rescue Group to transport two WASAR teams and their equipment.Equipment ferried by the helicopters consists of spine board, narkit, rope ladder, life vest, buoy can, kernmantle, carabs, pulley, flat web or the utility rope, helmet, short prussic, and assorted personal protective equipment. SOVEREIGNPH