E CARTOON NOV 20 2020 300x292 - Reforestation — long-range answer to  massive floodingThe immediate need in  Luzon is for continued rescue and relief work for the people who lost  their homes in the wake of typhoon Ulysses, the latest of a series of storms and typhoons that swept in from the Pacific  in a span of three weeks.

It  was initially  reported that Ulysses  had caused massive  flooding in Marikina City,  the catch basin of Metro Manila, but  it turned out the next day  that  the flooding  had  actually  hit the whole  of Luzon, particularly  Cagayan  and  Isabela in the north.   Helicopters brought food packs to many barangays isolated by the floods that covered  the region.

Damage to  rice  and other farms in  the Cordilleras, Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and Bicol was  estimated at  P2.53 billion.  With the  declaration of a state of calamity  in all of Luzon, the national government augmented  the funding of the National Risk Reduction and Management Fund by P10 billion.

The  unexpected heavy flooding in Cagayan  and Isabela  has  moved the House of Representatives  to   conduct an inquiry. Aside from the unusually heavy rains that fell on the mountains in the area,  it  seems that  dam administrators in both  Cagayan  Valley and  Marikina released  water   threatening the dam structures,  but in the process,   they worsened the floods in the populated areas downstream.

The  spilling operations in Magat Dam  raised the flood waters in  Isabela, Aurora, all the way to Aparri, Cagayan, the exit point of the Cagayan  River, Undersecretary Renato Solidum of the Department of Science and  Technology said.

There is now a suggestion,  he said, for the  dredging of the Cagayan  River  along with the construction of a  temporary embankment.  But vital to any effort to prevent another disastrous flooding in the future, he  said,  is  reforestation in the mountains.

 Forests serve to keep the water in the mountains. Without  trees to hold the water around  their roots,   the water  flows down  unimpeded to the lowlands and cause floods like the one that just hit the  whole of Luzon.

Then there is the issue of illegal mining in  surrounding  mountains. While this is not directly related to the  floods,  it is a problem of law  enforcement, which  becomes one  of  special importance in times of disaster.

So many issues are now coming  up  because of th unusually widespread flood in Luzon.  With its additional funds, the government should be  able  to attend to the most  immediate problems of rescue, relief  and rehabilitation, and dam control, along with  river dredging and raising  of embankments.

But the long-range  solution  must  not be forgotten—reforestation of the mountains that will  keep  the water from rushing down  to the lowlands, destroying homes and lives,  everytime a typhoon like UIysses comes roaring from the Pacific.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *