Floods trap commuters, stall traffic
Parts of Cebu City were submerged in knee-deep floodwaters after a downpour broke out past noon yesterday.
By midafternoon, part of S. Osmeña Road in the North Reclamation Area near SM City was underwater, slowing vehicles to a crawl along the national highway and nearby roads.
It took almost two hours for a taxi passenger in Hernan Cortes Street in Mandaue city to reach SM City, a trip that normally takes less than 20 minutes.
A cluster of motorcycles stood helpless over a block away from the mall, looking at the water level, unable to cross.
Bumper-to-bumper traffic spread out in Ouano Avenue in Mandaue City, a mix of cargo trucks and private vehicles.
A localized thunderstorm caused the rains that lasted more than an hour.
Power was cut off in parts of the mountain barangay of Busay and the South Road Properties (SRP) during the downpour while a tree fell at the Quijada compound in barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City, Councilor Dave Tumulak said.
“Veco linemen are still working to identify what caused the interruption and restore power,” said Tumulak.
Traffic also slowed down in several roads in Cebu City when floodwaters from upland barangays started to flow in the city streets even after the rain stopped at about 3:30 p.m.
Flooding was experienced in downtown roads of Jakosalem, Legazpi, Bonifacio, Colon and Junquera said Rafael Yap, Cebu city’s traffic czar.
Streetflooding was also reported in Archbishop Reyes Avenue near the Pagibig building; A. Soriano; Urot and John Paul II Street, North Reclamation Area; JY Square and Salinas Road in Lahug; and in parts of barangay Talamban.
In southern Cebu City, flooding was experienced along the South Coastal Road, Kinasang-an, Mambaling and San Roque roads.
Tumulak said they sent out Kaoshiung buses to fetch stranded passengers at the North Reclamation Area near SM mall.
The buses were initially sent to fetch stranded students of the Bagong Lipunan Elementary School in Carreta and the Mabolo National High School after nearby creeks started to overflow and flooded the school grounds.
Parents started calling and sending text messages to the city’s command center, Tumulak said.
“We deployed two Kaoshiung buses to send the kids home,” he said.
After making sure that the kids were safe, Tumulak said they proceeded to the nearby SM City Cebu mall to rescue stranded passengers.
He said several passenger jeepneys conked out along A. Soriano Street after the floodwater reached knee-level.
“The sudden rise in water level caught us by surprise. It was raining hard in the mountains that everything went down and flooded urban barangays,” he said.
By 5 p.m., Tumulak said, they added five more buses to ferry stranded passengers at the mall vicinity and bring them to downtown Cebu City.
Flooding remained along S. Osmeña Road and the nearby Baclig Street located inside the Cebu International Port (CIP) compound after 6 p.m.
In barangay Poblacion, Daanbantayan town, 67-year-old fisherman Benancio Pepito died after being struck by lightning while he headed home.
PO3 Victor Abenido, desk officer of Daanbantayan police, said Pepito bought a snack and was about to load the fish he caught to a bucket when he was hit by the lightning.
The victim suffered severe wounds and burns on his body.
Residents rushed him to Daanbantayan District Hospital but he failed to make it.
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