Huge debris worsens flooding in Paoay

PAOAY, Ilocos Norte, Aug 17  — Garbage may also have contributed to the widespread flooding in this town as shown by tons of debris that clogged a waterway connecting two villages here.
Local officials and residents in this town, which was one of the hardest hit areas by tropical storm Helen, had joined hands in removing heaps of trash and debris that clogged a creek causing floodwaters to swamp two villages at the height of the storm.

Historically, this town had suffered from flooding year in and year out as it served as a catch basin of floodwaters coming from neighboring Batac City.

In an ocular  visit to the flooded barangays of Salbang and San Agustin, the group of Paoay  councilors saw the tons of garbage that clogged the creek causing floodwaters to overflow from the bridge connecting the two villages.

Town Councilor Juncee Clemente said the debris consisted of plastics, forest woods and dried  tree twigs. They blocked the flow of floodwaters that should have flowed out to the seas.

The garbage, which was shoved by strong water current, leveled up with the bridge and prevented flood waters from flowing freely in waterways.

The local government is eyeing to elevate the bridge’s level to prevent similar clogging during stormy season. Officials are now working on allocating funds for the bridge’s rehabilitation.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported no major damages on the province’s agriculture, infrastructure and road networks as rains dumped by Helen did not last long and did not carry gusty winds.

Rubber boats that were deployed to flood-prone areas were not utilized because floodwaters merely reached up to knee-deep.

The Buagao Bridge in Bangui town, which was damaged during the previous typhoon, was able to withstand Helen’s heavy rains and remained passable. (ANL/CCA-PIA 1 Ilocos Norte)