Tue. Apr 20th, 2021

KALINGA, Philippines — On Nov. 12, 2020, Typhoon Vamco cut across the northern Philippines, flooding more than 60 cities and towns in the Cagayan Valley. Millions of dollars’ worth of property and crops were damaged. Considered the worst flooding to hit the region in almost half a century, Vamco’s impact on communities was largely attributed to waters released from the Magat dam, one of the largest in the Philippines. The dam sits on the Magat River, a tributary of the Cagayan River, about 350 kilometers (220 miles) northeast of Manila. In just 11 hours, the dam discharged more than 265 million cubic meters (70 billion gallons) of water — almost a third of the reservoir’s capacity, and enough to fill nearly 110,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The disaster has rekindled criticism of dam-building in the region, including by longtime opponents of two proposed hydropower projects on another tributary of the Cagayan, the Chico River. The Chico River is the longest tributary of the Rio Grande de Cagayan, or the Cagayan River, the longest river in the Philippines. Image by Erwin Mascariñas “The Cagayan flooding verified one of the many reasons why we maintain our opposition to damming any part of Chico River,” says Danny Bangibang, a leader of the Indigenous communities of Kalinga province, where the rivers are located. “We will not wait for the same disaster to happen in our own soil.” In his leadership role, Bangibang is entrusted with mediating talks among Indigenous communities and facilitating interaction with government…This article was originally published on Mongabay
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