Philippine tropical cyclones

‘Kabayan’ sends nearly 42,000 to evacuation centers in Surigao del Sur

John Sitchon, Ferdinand Zuasola

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‘Kabayan’ sends nearly 42,000 to evacuation centers in Surigao del Sur

EVACUATE.MBureau of Fire Protection personnel help villagers evacuate in Sitio Libtong, Barangay Central in Manay in Davao Oriental.

Davao Oriental Provincial Government FB page

The displaced families are staying in 262 evacuation centers across Surigao del Sur

MANILA, Philippines – Tropical storm Kabayan sent some 41,977 people to evacuation centers in Surigao del Sur province before it weakened into a tropical depression and eventually became a low-pressure area (LPA) on Monday, December 18.

Surigao del Sur Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) chief Alex Arana told Rappler that as of 5 pm on Monday, local governments in the province had evacuated at least 12,523 families from their homes.

The families that have been displaced are staying in 262 evacuation centers across the province.

Rescue, Person, Worker
HELPING HANDS. Personnel from the Bureau of Fire Protection help evacuate people in Sitio Libtong, Barangay Central in Manay, Davao Oriental. Davao Oriental provincial government FB page

Based on their data, around 156,555 individuals or 42,739 families from 189 barangays in the province were affected by heavy rain and widespread flooding. 

He said those affected were residents who live in “areas of tolerance” or areas that experience the moderate effects of the weather disturbance.

Arana said the numbers are still partial as they are still receiving more reports from local governments in the province.

The PDRRMO also recorded 151 damaged and destroyed houses amounting to P930,000 in property damage. 

Arana assured that there were no damages to infrastructure and essential facilities like hospitals.

Effects in Davao Oriental

In Davao Oriental, widespread flooding caused by continuous heavy rain also forced many residents to flee their homes and seek higher ground since Sunday evening, December 17. 

Classes and work in Davao Oriental’s capital city, Mati, were suspended, according to Karen Lou Deloso, provincial information officer of Davao Oriental.

Orly Cabaobao, provincial director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, said classes were also suspended in the towns of Banaybanay, Lupon, Governor Generoso, San Isidro, Manay, Caraga, Baganga, Cateel, and Boston on Monday, the same day the tropical storm made landfall.

Deloso said a bridge in the village of Lamiawan in Caraga town had collapsed on Monday due to heavy flooding while a 35-year-old man died in the flood in the village of Holy Cross in Manay town. 

Many houses were destroyed by a flash flood and landslide on Monday morning in the village of Pichon in Caraga town.

In the town of Cateel, the local government ordered a forced evacuation of residents in the villages of Alegria, San Vicente, and San Miguel which are situated near the sprawling Cateel River, said Roy Mondares, chief of the town’s disaster risk reduction and management office.

“We ordered forced evacuation of residents in the three villages. We prioritized the people with disabilities, the young children, and lactating mothers,” Mondares told Rappler.

He said many villagers in low-lying and flood-prone villages fled to higher grounds and designated evacuation centers since Sunday as they feared the province’s largest irrigation project, the Aragon Dam may inundate all the low-lying villages of Cateel town.

On Monday afternoon, the Cateel local government said the water level at the Aragon Dam has already reached a critical level of 20 meters. –

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