20 dead, 13 missing in Mindanao floods

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

DAVAO (Updated, 4:32 p.m.) -- Two days of heavy rains set off floods and landslides in the southeastern Philippines, leaving at least 20 people dead, 13 missing and thousands displaced, officials said Monday.

Antonio Cloma, regional head of Office of Civil Defense Davao Region, said the fatalities are coming from Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, the same provinces hit Typhoon Pablo in 2012.

Other dead and missing were also recorded in Agusan del Sur.

A landslide Monday damaged five houses in Cagdianao municipality in Dinagat Island, off the northeastern coast of the main southern island of Mindanao, killing six residents including two boys aged two and 14, said police officer Elbert Ompoc.

Melito Gortina of Agusan del Sur died due to drowning, and Jenelyn Gonzalez of Compostela Valley died due to landslide.

Other fatalities from Davao Oriental were identified as Ramil Legaspi, Nino Madindin, Alfredo Moses, Roy Baron, Misael Cabales and Boy Arenas.

Four others who died due to drowning and flooding are still unidentified.

Flash flood hits Kaptagan, Lanao del Norte
LANAO DEL NORTE. Residents living in the interior part of the coastal village of Lapinig in Kapatagan town in Lanao del Norte flee from their homes dawn on January 13 as flash flood waters keep on rising brought about by sustained rainfall for the past three days. (Richel V. Umel)

The flooding, triggered by rains from a low pressure area (LPA), has affected 132,000 people from 10 provinces.

Cloma said at least 88 barangays in 16 municipalities and two cities were among those affected. A total of 25,634 are now temporarily housed in 79 evacuation centers in the region.

“Handa naman na ang mga tao sa area na iyon so we are expecting na hindi ganoon kataas ang number of casualties,” Major Reynaldo Balido, spokesperson of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) told Sun.Star on Monday.

“May kahirapan ang pagdadala ng relief dahil maraming daan pa din ang hindi nadadaanan dahil sa labis nab aha, may mga tulay din na nasira at hindi madaanan hanggang ngayon,” he added.

The NDRRMC, in its 6 a.m. Tuesday update, recorded that 34 roads and 17 bridges remains not passable and were damaged by heavy flooding and landslides.

In Davao, Saug River, Libuganon River and irrigation dam in Aragon overflowed.

Heavy traffic also hit the Davao-Tagum highway on Monday following the overflow of water from Bincungan river.

Davao Oriental towns facing the Pacific Ocean are also isolated as floodwaters damaged bridges while the LPA affecting the region continues to make access by air and sea difficult.

According to Mariano Alquiza, Department of Public Works and Highways Region 11 (DPWH-Davao Region) director that the sudden rise of river water level caused by heavy rain had affected several bridges mostly in Davao Oriental with six of those structures were not passable as strong current of floodwater damaged them.

Alquiza said that eight of the affected bridges are located in Davao Oriental, seven of which are located at Surigao Sur-Davao Coastal Road and one in Tibanban-Lavigan Road.

He noted that among those bridges declared by the authorities which were not passable along Surigao Sur-Davao Coastal Road in Davao Oriental are Quinonoan Bridge in the town of Tarragona (due to damaged bridge approach); Caraga Bridge (damaged on Pier 13) and Governor Teodoro Palma Gil (Manurigao) Bridge (scoured bridge approach), both in the municipality of Caraga; and Lumao Bridge in Cateel (totally washed-out).

He also added that three other bridges were affected by the scouring of approach namely Ibobotoc and Dakung Banua Bridges in Boston, and Taytayan Bridge in Cateel but are passable to vehicular traffic with DPWH maintenance crew deployed for embankment works and appropriate warning signs installed to forewarn motorists.

Meanwhile, Magdug Bridge along Tibanban-Lavigan Road in the municipality of Governo Generoso was declared not passable to all types of vehicle due to eroded bridge approach.

Also, Governor Miranda Bridge 1 in Tagum City, Davao del Norte was also closed to traffic due to floodwater approaching the bridge, forcing the diversion of southbound vehicular traffic to Governor Miranda Bridge 2.

Alquiza said that removal of slides are on-going on four landslide-affected sections of Montevista-Mati Boundary Road in Araibo, Liboton, Compostela Valley and at cut Saddle Section to restore the connection between Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.

He noted that removal of slides has been finished to open the following national highway to vehicular traffic: Km 1454+650 to Km 1454+850 of Montevista-Mati Boundary Road, Sabina Mines Section and Barangay Maganit Section of Manat-Maragusan Road.

Landslides have been also cleared at Daang Maharlika Road particularly in Monkayo and Mawab in Compostela Valley Province.

The towns from Manay up to the last town of Boston are unreachable from the capital City of Mati, while each town is isolated from each other.

Flash flood, landslide hit Kaptagan, Lanao del Norte
LANAO DEL NORTE. Heavy equipment and personnel from the Department of Public Works and Highways conduct clearing operations along the national highway in barangay Lapinig, Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte after the main road was temporarily closed due to landslide. (Richel V. Umel)

Information from the Provincial Government of Davao Oriental showed that a navy boat left Sunday night with relief goods using the route used after Typhoon Pablo.

In Davao del Norte, four towns have already declared states of calamity because of flooding.

A total of 533 families were evacuated by the Tagum City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office as floodwaters submerged their homes.

The City Council of Tagum in its session on Monday approved the resolution declaring the city under a state of calamity, which allows the release of calamity funds that will be used to cover aid, relief, and rehabilitation services to communities affected by the disaster.

Also declared under states of calamity by their respective legislative councils were the towns of Carmen, New Corella, and Kapalong.

Continuous rain since the weekend caused flooding in some barangays, including Cuambogan, Canococotan, San Miguel, Pagsabangan, Apokon, and Mankilam.

City Information Officer Cromwell Bonghanoy said relief packs consisting of three kilos of rice, four canned goods and four packs of instant noodles were given to the affected families.

Weather forecaster Gener Quitlong, meanwhile, said rains may persist until Tuesday or Wednesday over central provinces. (Sun.Star Davao/Louie Lapat/PNA/Third Anne Peralta/John Carlo Cahinhinan/with reports from AP/Sunnex)

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