MANILA, Philippines – A day after the flash flood that devastated 9 barangays in Valencia City, Bukidnon, local disaster response officials told Rappler that they have yet to hear of any reports of casualties resulting from the flood.
“We are about to terminate search and rescue operations,” Alejandro Larosa, Executive Officer of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC), told Rappler. He explained that they visited affected barangays and have yet to encounter families reporting any missing family members.
Asked about video uploaded by citizen journalists on Youtube where people watching houses being swept away by floodwaters were heard in the background commenting that there appear to be people trapped inside the houses, Larosa said, the people “could have been speculating.”
Larosa added, “I went to all the 9 affected barangays.” These barangays included Batangan, Catumbalon, Kahapunan, Maapag, Binatilan, Poblacion, Sinayawan, Sugod, and Bintar. “Nobody approached me saying they have missing family members.”
Larosa said he nevertheless recommended that the city be placed under state of calamity. He said there is no estimate yet on total damage. Apart from the houses swept away by the flood, however, a number of irrigation facilities were likewise destroyed. Pulangi Bridge in Brgy San Isidro, Valencia was also reported to have incurred slight structural damage. The CDRRMC belied reports, however, that the dam in Bukidnon was breached.
As of 7 in the morning of Wednesday, December 28, 2011, over 1,300 individuals were still housed in evacuation centers all over the City, according to Larosa. These include the Barangay Batangan Hall, Barangay Batangan Elementary School, Valencia City Gymnasium and the gymnasiums in Barangays Catombalon and Maapan. (Images in the slideshow taken Tuesday, December 27)
Food, dry clothing and blankets are needed by affected families in affected homes and evacuation centers, accordingly to local disaster response authorities. – Rappler.com