High tide, rainfall caused Iloilo City flashfloods

High tide and rainfall overwhelmed Iloilo City’s drainage and triggered a flashflood afternoon of June 11. (ICDRRMO photo)

By Joseph Bernard A. Marzan

A combination of high tide and rainfall caused the “unexpected flooding” in Iloilo City on Tuesday, June 11, according to an official of the City Engineer’s Office (CEO).

Joel Gerasmia, chief of staff to City Engineer Salvador Pedregosa, told the media that rains combined with the high tide in the Iloilo River and overwhelmed the drainage systems.

Gerasmia said that the flood subsided right after the rain.

He cited the drainage system near La Paz district plaza which is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Works and Highways-Iloilo City District Engineering Office (DPWH-ICDEO). The drainage pours out into Rizal Creek.

“The water from the high tide entered, plus the water from the rain, and the drainages could not swiftly ferry out the water to the river, causing floodwaters to rise in that area [of the La Paz plaza],” he explained.

“We checked the drainage near La Paz Plaza. When we opened it up, there wasn’t much water. It was most likely the strong flow of rainwater that filled it up,” he added.

Gerasmia said that their declogging operations yielded significant amounts of plastic waste, which contributed to drainage buildup.

While he was unable to provide exact figures, he said that their activities typically recover an average of 10 sacks of waste for every drainage they unclog.

“The major problem is waste being thrown by just anybody, which clogs our drains. When we look at the photos sent by our declogging teams, they collect many sacks. We place the waste into sacks and dispose of it at the Calajunan dumpsite,” he said.

“Most of what we see are plastics, but sometimes we also find vehicle tires, which clog our drainages badly. There were also folding beds seen under the drainages. But usually, it is plastic that our teams recover the most,” he added.

Gerasmia noted that the flooding occurred mostly in areas that are not connected to the floodgates of pumping stations along Jalandoni Street and Muelle Loney in City Proper.

“The problem is that there are no floodgates in areas with open canals where water can move in and out freely and these have not been finished by the DPWH,” he said.

He added that the CEO has been continuously pursuing declogging activities along the drainages, in collaboration with the DPWH-ICDEO for some systems under its jurisdiction.

They have identified priority areas for declogging based on information provided by the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.

“We have already started our clean-up drives long before the start of the rains. We have a team that conducts the declogging in the city,” he said.