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Hundreds of residents living near the Marikina River started leaving their homes at past noon on Tuesday after the local government placed the alarm level in the area at "two." In a report on Balitanghali, GMA reporter Sandra Aguinaldo said authorities sounded an Alarm Level 2 after water level breached 16 meters. The report said close to 200 residents or 31 families living in communities along the Marikina River has already volunteered to seek shelter in evacuation centers.
Cause of rising water level Authorities said water rushing down from the mountains of Antipolo and Montalban in neighboring Rizal contributes to the rapid rise in water level. "Iyong pagtaas ng tubig ilog sa Marikina River ay nakadepende sa pagbagsak ng tubig mula sa Montalban at Antipolo. One or 1.5 hours (around 10 a.m.) ago ang lakas nag pagbagsak ng tubig doon," said Marikina Vice Mayor Jose Fabian Cadiz. The floodway gates have likewise been opened to help ease the rising water level, the report said. "We are expecting that the river has already crested. ANd we are hoping the rains will abate. Baka hanggang 16 meters na lang iyan at hopefully wala nang ulan sa Montalban at Antipolo," Cadiz said. Alert levels in Marikina City Authorities in Marikina City observe the following rules in sounding alarms: Alert Level 1: Water level from 15 to 16 meters; Alert Level 2: Water level above 16 to 17 meters; Alert Level 3: Water level beyond 17 meters. At Alert Level 2, various officers of the Marikina City government are mobilized, including the Marikina Settlement Office, Parks Development Office, and "Rescue 161" - a unit under the Marikina City Mayor's Office. At 17 meters, residents are advised to voluntarily leave their homes. And at 18 meters, a forced evacuation is set in motion, according to local authorities. Cadiz advised Marikina residents to regularly check weather and river updates by visiting the Marikina City Council's official website here. Highest alert level Just last month, an alert level 3 - the highest - was sounded after the Marikina River swelled beyond 17 meters, sending more than 7,000 residents living along and near the river away from their homes and into 16 schools and covered courts that were turned into evacuation centers. Water level at the river peaked at 23 meters during Ondoy's rampage in September 2009, sending three-meter high floods to nearby communities. Ondoy killed hundreds of people and wrought damage worth millions of pesos.- VVP, GMA News