Floods Swamp Roxas Blvd.

MANILA, Philippines --- Floods inundated Roxas Boulevard and establishments around it, including the United States embassy, as well as low-lying areas in Metro Manila and Cavite as more downpours and wind gusts struck due to "monsoon surge" as typhoon "Gener" and a new low pressure area (LPA) further enhanced the southwest monsoon or "hanging habagat" Wednesday.

While the typhoon continues to move away from the country, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned that the enhanced southwest monsoon will still bring rains and moderate-to-strong winds over Luzon and the Western Visayas.

The number of affected population due to Gener climbed to more than 300,000 while the death toll rose to 14 as of yesterday morning, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.

Latest bulletin released by the NDRRMC identified the four most recent fatalities as Prisca S. Payaya, 64, from Tublay, Benguet; Clinton P. Idio, 15, from Tublay, Benguet - both victims died in a landslide; Mariel Manzo, 11, from Agustin, Romblon- accidentally knocked by a falling tree branch that caused serious head injury; and Edna Ibañes, 40, from Cajidiocan in Romblon- hit by an uprooted coconut tree due to strong winds.

A mother and her daughter also died due to drowning in Cabuntalan, Maguindanao, according to NDRRMC Executive Director Benito Ramos.

A certain Angelito Bicoy from Quezon province and four fishermen from Romblon remain missing, while 129 people have been rescued.

The flooding on Roxas Boulevard was made worse by high tide and strong waves from Manila Bay caused by strong winds, triggering monstrous traffic jams in major thoroughfares leading to the area.

The tide ascended to 1.43 meters or five to six feet at 8:42 a.m., aggravating the floods along Roxas Boulevard.

PAGASA senior weather forecaster Jori Loiz noted that the Port Area station recorded 37 kilometers per hour (kph) of winds in Manila Bay at around 8 a.m. Wednesday due to a "monsoon surge."

"This is considered strong because a tropical depression has winds of 55 kph," he said.

Gener has maximum sustained winds of 120 kph near its center and gustiness of up to 150 kph.

Loiz said Gener continues to follow a north-northwest track, but remained almost stationary at 7 kph.

He explained that a part of Gener has been left behind and formed a new low pressure system 360 km west-northwest of Basco, Batanes or west of Laoag City.

"This is the continuation of the cloud bands of Gener. We are closely monitoring its possible development into a tropical depression but as of now the possibility of intensification is minimal because it may merge again with Gener," Loiz said.

However, these weather disturbances have a strong effect in the enhancement of southwest monsoon.

Public storm Signal No. 3 has been lifted, but Signal No. 2 remains hoisted over Batanes Group of Islands and the Calayan and Babuyan Group of Islands.

Areas under Signal No. 1 are the rest of Cagayan and Apayao.

PAGASA warned residents living in low-lying and mountainous areas against possible flashfloods and landslides.

It said heavy to torrential rains are still expected.

Loiz said Gener, if it maintains its speed and direction, will leave the Philippine area of responsibility by Thursday. However, improving weather condition will be expected by Friday or Saturday.

The NDRRMC said Gener has affected 63,670 families or 303,941 peole in 413 barangays (villages) from 75 towns and 18 cities in 25 provinces at regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 12, Cordillera, and Metro Manila.

Of the affected population, 1,027 families or 4,619 people were evacuated and are now being served in 32 evacuation centers.

As of press time, the NDRRMC said the following areas remain flooded - Claveria and Sta. Teresita in Cagayan; Hagonoy, Calumpit, Paombong, Meycauayan, and San Miguel in Bulacan; Apalit, Bacolor, Candaba, Guagua, Lubao, San Simon, Macabebe, Masantol, Minalin, San Luis, and Sasmuan in Pampanga; and Pikit in North Cotabato.

Twenty-eight roads and two bridges in areas affected by Gener remained impassable as of Wednesday morning, and at least 1,514 people, 22 rolling cargoes, 15 vessels, and 14 motor bancas were stranded.

The NDRRMC further reported that 379 houses were totally destroyed and 1,000 others were partially damaged due to the effects of Gener.

Authorities are also continuously monitoring the situation of several dams where the water has reached critical spilling level.

Ramos said information sent to him also indicated that authorities are preparing to open one gate of Ipo dam by 30cm if the water level reaches 100.95m. As of reporting time, the water level at Ipo dam has reached 100.92m.

In Marikina, the city government raised it 2nd Alarm after the Marikina River rose to 16.3 meters shortly after noon yesterday.

In Butuan and Agusan del Norte, at least 15 fishermen were reported missing when their respective fishing pump boats and bancas capsized after being hit by big waves and strong winds early dawn yesterday.

Initial report reaching the respective action centers of Butuan City and Agusan del Norte Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRMC's) said of 23 fishing boats that went fishing pre-dawn only eight fishing pump boats and bancas were able to return to Manapa, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte. (With reports from Rizal S. Obanil, Francis T. Wakefield, Anthony L. Giron, Mike U. Crismundo, Ed Mahilum, and Nel B. Andrade)