Rio N. Araja and Jess Malabanan
Typhoon “Fabian” continued Thursday to move slowly westward over the Philippine Sea southeast of Yaeyama Islands in Japan, leaving at least 23 villages in Pampanga submerged in floodwaters, disaster officials said.
The center of the eye of “Fabian” was estimated at 505 kilometers northeast of Itbayat, Batanes, nearly 660 km north of Metro Manila.
Packing maximum sustained winds of 150 km/h near the center, gustiness of up to 185 km/h and central pressure of 955 km/h, the typhoon was moving westward slowly, weather officials said.
Tropical cyclone wind signal no. 1 was raised over Batanes and Babuyan Islands.
According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, “Fabian” was unlikely to directly bring heavy rainfall in the country throughout the forecast period.
In Pampanga, Angelina Blanco, executive director of the Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Office, said high tides aggravated the flooding in the towns of Masantol, Macabebe and San Simon towns.
“The situation is closely monitored by local DRRMO and so far the condition is manageable. In fact only one family had been evacuated to higher ground Wednesday night as a preemptive effort,” said Blanco in her latest report.
She said raging water from upstream of the Pampanga River also contributed to the perennial flooding in the coastal towns.
The Pampanga River Water Basin has been placed in tight watch. So far the water level has yet to reach the critical level.
“The water remains confined on the river bed but constant monitoring is being done to warn people in low lying communities in the event of spill over,” Blanco said
Other coastal towns being monitored are Guagua snd Sasmuan towns as well as Apalit, San Luis, and Candaba.
At the same time, Blanco reported that 8,900 meters of waterways were desilted in five barangays in Candaba, Apalit, Arayat, and Lubao towns from January to March this year.
“This is one way to prevent flooding. We are also continuously doing other flood mitigation projects in coordination with our district engineering offices. These include infrastructure projects, drainages, rehabilitation, restoration, repair, slope and dike protection, as well as prepositioning of resources on strategic locations,” Blanco said.