disasters

Death toll up in flooded Mindanao, Visayas

Froilan Gallardo
Death toll up in flooded Mindanao, Visayas

FLOODS. Days of heavy rain have sent waters rampaging through Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental forcing the closure of government work and private business on December 27.

Clifton Taguran Quidet

Local government units want flood evacuees - more than 20,000 families - to stay put, saying they expect rains to continue until the New Year

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Oroquieta City in Misamis Occidental ordered its commercial district closed on Tuesday, December 27 as a second day of floodwaters breaching the banks of the Layawan River cut a swathe of destruction.

“The river rose by more than four feet and resulted in the closing down of the commercial district of Oroquieta City,” Misamis Occidental Governor Henry Oaminal said.

The death toll from floods caused by the shear line affecting a wide area of Mindanao, the Visayas, and Bicol rose to at least 18 with several persons still reported missing.

A shear line is the point where warm air and cold air meet, and it often brings heavy rains.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) on Tuesday morning said the shear line will continue to dump more rains over Palawan, Visayas and Mindanao in the following days.

In various provinces, local government officials urged flood evacuees – at least 20,000 families as of Tuesday noon – to stay put as rains are expected to continue until the New Year.

Swollen rivers, waterlogged earth

As flooded cities and towns struggled to feed evacuees, the city of Mati in Davao Oriental said on Tuesday afternoon that its main river had also overflowed, sending residents scampering to safer grounds.

Oroquieta Mayor Lemuel Meyrick Acosta ordered the suspension of work in all agencies of the local government until further notice, except for personnel involved in rescue and relief work.

The Department of Public Works and Highways in Eastern Samar said it would continue to monitor LGUs after rains caused landslides in San Miguel and Cansilides villages in Hernani Eastern Samar on Christmas Eve and floods closed the major road in Bigo village, Arteche town.

Fatalities

In Misamis Occidental, seven people have died from floods, said Oaminal. A farmer died in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental, and two more in Bukidnon province.

In Eastern Visayas, the regional police office reported four deaths. Two fishermen drowned when their craft two were confirmed dead in Pintuyan, Southern Leyte, and one each in the towns of Bobon and San Jose in Northern Samar.

CHRISTMAS FLOOD. People evacuate as floodwaters hit a community in Gingoog City on Christmas Day.

The Office of Civil Defense in Bicol on Tuesday said three persons have died of drowning in Camarines Sur and Catanduanes and eight are still missing.

In Kolambugan, Lanao Del Norte, a man was found dead Tuesday morning on the beach near the Findlay Miller & Timber Company compound in Brgy. Baybay.

Officials said they believe the victim, who was reported missing with his wife and child, drowned during the Christmas Day flood in the area. The fatality, they said, was not a native and was identified as a resident of Brgy Becor Cagay-anon, Sinacaban, Misamis Occidental.

The towns of Sulat and Quinapondan in Eastern Samar, and Palapag, San Roque; and Laoang towns in Northern Samar have each reported one missing person.

The Bicol and Eastern Visayas casualties were mostly fisher folk whose boats capsized in rough seas.

The Eastern Visayas Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) said most the the fisher folk had gone to sea before gale warnings were issued.

On Tuesday, the Philippine Coast Guard in Eastern Samar warned crew of fishing vessels and smaller sea craft not to sail, noting PAGASA’s gale warnings and forecast that waves that could reach as high as 4.5 meters.

Gov. Oaminal said the heavy rains continued to batter Oroquieta City and four municipalities of Aloran, Jimenez, Tudela and Clarin. Shaina Nagtalon of the Philippine Information Agency in Misamis Occidental said communication lines were down in these areas.

“All of our flood control system has collapsed. We did not expect so much rain,” Oaminal said.

Oaminal said the only good news saying that the highway linking Ozamiz and Oroquita cities is now passable to all types of vehicles as of 8am Tuesday December 27.

Stay put

In Misamis Oriental, local officials urged more than 7,185 families or 38,410 individuals in Gingoog evacuation centers to stay put.

“We are constantly monitoring the weather and we think there will be more rains in the coming days,” Misamis Oriental provincial disaster rescue officer Fernando Vincent Dy Jr., said.

“We think the weather would still be bad until the New Year. It is better to hold the families than rescuing them again,” Dy said.

OCD assistant director Gilbert Conde the number of evacuees in Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) was at 14,456 families or 67,733 individuals.

He said 2,130 families or 9,216 individuals were from Oroquieta City and four municipalities of Aloran, Jimenez, Tudela and Clarin.

Misamis Oriental PDRRMO said Gingoog City has the biggest number of evacuees with 7,815 families or 38,410 individuals staying in Lugod gym and various evacuation centers.

Coast Guard Station Southern Palawan said heavy rainfall also caused floods in Barangay TubTub, Brooke’s Point, on December 26 with a few families brought to evacuation centers.

Relief

Meanwhile, the local government of Cagayan de Oro sent a relief convoy of seven vehicles including an ambulance for Misamis Occidental.

Cagayan de Oro information officer Ivy Guantero said the convoy are bringing food packs consisting of rice, noodles, water and sardines.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development in the Caraga Region (DSWD-13) said on Tuesday that it had sent 1,700 family food packs (FFPs) to the Don Restituto Baol Central School in Gingoog City on Monday afternoon. (With Ferdinand Zuasola and Merlyn Manos) – Rappler.com

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