Zamboanga del Norte

7 die, 64,000 evacuate as floods hit Zamboanga del Norte

Gualberto Laput

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7 die, 64,000 evacuate as floods hit Zamboanga del Norte

TO THE RESCUE. Government rescuers use a rubber boat as they rescue villagers in a flooded community in Zamboanga del Norte on January 11.

Zamboanga del Norte PDRRMO

Dipolog residents describe it as the worst flooding in the history of the city

ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, Philippines – At least seven people died, and close to 64,000 people or about 14,000 families have been evacuated in widespread flooding in Zamboanga del Norte due to continuous heavy rain since Tuesday, January 10.

The heavy rain have stopped in Dipolog and several other areas in Zamboanga del Norte as of Friday morning, January 13, with only occasional drizzle.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said a low pressure area has lingered off Caraga, and the government’s color-coded warnings were still in effect.

The LPA, spotted 85 kilometers east of Hinatuan town in Surigao del Norte, continued to spawn dopwnpour across Mindanao as of this posting.

The damage, however, from January 10 to 12 has already been done and is extensive, officials said.

Throughout the night of January 10, mobile phones in the province received several persistent alarms from the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (NDRRMO) warning of the potential danger.

At dawn of January 11, landslides occurred in towns such as Sibuco and Liloy in the province’s 3rd district down to Rizal town in the 1st district, while residents in flood-prone areas were forced to flee their homes to safer ground, many to evacuation centers. 

Dipolog was also badly hit, with residents describing it as the worst flooding in the history of the city.

Many residents have come together to help one another, securing appliances, drinking water, and food, and assisting in pushing motorcycles and cars to higher areas.

Social welfare offices were now leading efforts to feed and attend to the health needs of the evacuees.

Dennis Tenorio, Zamboanga del Norte’s acting provincial disaster risk reduction management officer, said the casualties included one person from Pinan town, one from Dipolog, two from Manukan town, one from Sicon town, and two from Sindangan town.

However, rescuers lamented the lack of rescue and utility vehicles for a quick and sustained response.

Many of the provincial government’s vehicles were donated to several towns and Dipolog City shortly before Rosalina Jalosjos assumed the position of governor in mid-2022. 

Tenorio said the capitol only has an old truck, a pick-up truck, and two jeeps for disaster response. These were bought by the provincial government more than a decade ago. –

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