Philippine tropical cyclones

Baybay City Agaton fatalities rise to 36, thousands flee Visayas floods

Inday Espina-Varona, Brynch Bonachita
Baybay City Agaton fatalities rise to 36, thousands flee Visayas floods

CRUSHED. A huge landslide on April 12 damaged 80% of Pilar in Malaguicay Island, Leyte, according to the Bureau of Fire Protection in Eastern Visayas.

Bureau of Fire Protection Region 8

(1st UPDATE) Residents of Barangay Pilar in Abuyog town, Leyte call for rescue after a landslide strikes the village around 4:30 pm on April 12

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Baybay City in Leyte announced that the death toll from floods and landslides spawned by Tropical Depression Agaton (Megi) had increased to 36 by 4pm on Tuesday, April 12, a day after torrential rains swamped a large swathe of the Visayas.

An update on the disaster, posted on the local government’s official page, also said 26 individuals remain missing in three villages, and that 53 of 105 injured residents were in hospitals.

The biggest number of missing comes from Barangay Bunga, where rescuers were hampered by bad weather while in search for victims of an April 11 landslide. The local government’s casualty count as of April 11 afternoon was only 14.

The city of Ormoc and the provincial government of Southern Leyte sent rescuers and equipment to help first responders in Baybay, where landslides affected even villages “outside the danger zone,” according to local officials.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story said that Barangay Pilar is in Malaguicay Island. This has been corrected.

Residents of Barangay Pilar in Abuyog town, Leyte also called for rescue after a landslide struck the barangay around 4:30 pm on April 12.

The local fire station confirmed the incident. Senior Fire Officer 1 Cheradee Escano told Rappler around ten to 15 injured persons were being brought to a hospital. Rescue operations are ongoing but offices of the local police, coast guard, and disaster managers could not be reached.

The Bureau of Fire Protection Region VIII also said floods and landslides affected 80% of the barangay.

NEW LANDSLIDE. First responders aid the village of Pilar in Leyte following a huge landslide on April 12. (Bureau of Fire Protection Region 8)
Western Visayas

Agaton’s rains also swamped communities in Western Visayas on April 11, forcing thousands of individuals to evacuate.

Floods submerged many villages in most of Aklan province’s 17 towns, the provincial government said on April 12.

Unlike in Eastern Visayas, however, there were no reports of lives lost in Region 6 by noon of April 12.

More than 4,000 persons in Negros Occidental, and 1,600 in Aklan, fled their homes due to heavy to torrential rains. Close to 1,000 persons also evacuated in Capiz, where floods covered 120 villages and 500 in Antique province.

By noon of April 12, even as provincial governments were still struggling to complete reports on the devastation, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) again issued red rainfall warnings in Negros Occidental, Iloilo, Capiz, and Aklan, raising fears of additional floods and landslides.

In Aklan, the provincial government reported high waters in Kalibo, Batan, Altavas, Ibajay, Malinao, and other areas, including popular tourist destination, Boracay Island.

Police in Altavas town rescue residents trapped by flood on April 12. (Photo by Altavas local government)

The Vallacar Transit Ceres announced that it had cancelled its operation to Caticlan and vice versa because of floods.

In Barangay Rosal, Libacao, a bridge collapsed, and officials said it remained impassable by noon of April 12.

As floods slowly receded, a fire incident broke out in the Kalibo Shopping Center on April 12, affecting seven establishments, mostly medical clinics.

Terence Toriano, chief of the Kalibo MDRRMO told Rappler that an unidentified firefighter and a civilian were injured in the fire.

Several families from Barangay Alijis, Bacolod City were forced to evacuate following a rain-induced landslide on Monday, April 11. (Bacolod DRRMO photo)

Negros Occidental Provincial Disaster Management Program Division head Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian said on April 12nthat evacuees came from 52 villages in seven local government units .

In Cadiz City, 1,137 individuals or 325 families from nine barangays were affected while Talisay City evacuated 218 families or 1,168 persons from nine barangays.

Caelian said that a landslide reported in San Carlos City on April 12 was already 90% cleared. But erosion in Barangay Guimbala-on, Silay, still blocked the main road there, while residents of an area in Barangay Patag fled as a cliff near their homes showed signs of erosion.

Meanwhile, in Barangay Alijis, Bacolod City on Monday, April 11, 107 families evacuated due to floods and a landslide. Almost a hundred others also fled to temporary shelters in the coastal village of Banago.

Caelian said no injuries were reported in the province..

Classes were suspended in Talisay City, San Carlos City, Escalante City, Don Salvador Benedicto, and Manapla, while work and school were halted in Cadiz City, Silay City, Victorias City, and EB Magalona.

The Philippine Coast Guard also suspended sea travel between Escalante City in Negros Occidental, and Tabuelan, Cebu. Ferry crossings from San Carlos City, Negros Occidental to Toledo, Cebu resumed on April 12.

The Iloilo City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said 24 barangays were still flooded as of 8:30 p.m. of April 11.

As of 1:00 p.m., April 12, the Jalaur Dam’s level slightly rose to 25.70 MSL, above its normal operating elevation (24 MSL). The National Irrigation Administration-Region 6 told Radyo Pilipinas they had been releasing water as soon as the tropical depression entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility on April 8.

Other dams under the NIA-6 also rose above their normal operating levels, including the Tipuluan and Solong Dams in Sibalom and the Nasuli Dam in San Remigio, both in Antique, as rain and strong winds continue in Western Visayas. – With Marchel Espina and Joseph B.A. Marzan/Rappler.com

Brynch Bonachita and Joseph B.A. Marzan are Visayas-based journalists and awardees of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship

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