‘WAKANDA TO WATERWORLD’: ‘Most severe’ flooding to hit Iloilo City since Typhoon Frank, mayor says

The massive flooding in Iloilo City, which displaced residents and even their pets, brought back memories of the tragic deluge caused by Typhoon Frank in 2008. (June Dale Lozada photo)

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said the flooding caused by the heavy rains of the southwest monsoon enhanced by Typhoon Goring was the “most severe” flooding since Typhoon Frank battered the metro in 2008.

“The flooding experienced in Iloilo City yesterday was the most severe ever since after Typhoon Frank,” Treñas said on Tuesday.

Data from the CDRRMO as of 12 p.m., August 30, indicated that 90 of the 180 barangays in the city were flooded, with floodwaters rising to as high as 3 to 4 feet.

The number of flooded barangays is as follows: 13 in City Proper, 10 in Molo, 24 in Jaro, 16 in Mandurriao, 10 in La Paz, 12 in Arevalo, and 5 in Lapuz.

Flooding also led to the displacement of residents in 47 barangays, totaling 16,751 evacuees from 4,478 affected families.

Treñas emphasized that areas in Iloilo City that were not previously flooded have now experienced intense flooding.

“It was totally unexpected. While there were several warnings coming from the OCD (Office of Civil Defense) before the rains, no one really expected the volume of the rains,” he added.

The city mayor suggested the repair of the Doppler radar and synoptic station at the Western Visayas Agricultural Research Center in Barangay Buntatala, Jaro. The Doppler radar has been operating since 2016.

“Early warning is very important so that we can be forewarned. We need to work together to make sure that everyone is forewarned,” Treñas continued.

The city mayor has consequently urged the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, and other key stakeholders to collaborate with the local government units from the province to discuss the mitigation measures against flooding.

“We should study the situation seriously so that we can prevent similar occurrences in the future,” he said.

Treñas particularly stressed that DPWH’s forthcoming projects should be designed to avert rain-induced hazards, mitigate property damage, and prevent loss of life.

It can be noted that the road of the P680-million Ungka flyover in Barangay Ungka II, Pavia, tends to flood on rainy days despite it being located above the ground. The road beneath it is regularly experiencing flooding during a downpour.

He also noted that local government units should enhance their initiatives in afforestation, transition to renewable energy sources, enhancement of drainage systems, installation of larger pumping stations, and augmentation of cistern capacity, among others.

Treñas’ description of the latest calamity to hit the city is in contrast to the moniker for the city at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic between 2020 and 2022 – “Wakanda of the Philippines.”

Wakanda refers to the fictional country appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The kingdom is characterized to be prosperous, resilient, and self-sustaining even if it is isolated from the rest of the world because of its rich deposit of the fictional element vibranium, the source of its power and wealth.