5,000 evacuated to avoid flood

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Monday, October 7, 2013

CLOSE to 5,000 people from two communities in Negros Oriental were evacuated after prolonged rains triggered landslides and caused two rivers to overflow yesterday.

Office of Civil Defense (OCD) 7 Director Minda Morante said early warnings were given to the local government units a day before the disaster cut a destructive swathe across 19 barangays in Bayawan City and Siaton town.

The Cebu City Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (LDRRMC) is considering a plan to send a team of doctors to Bayawan City to help attend to the


Cebu’s residents were told to expect thunderstorms until Friday because of an inter-tropical convergence zone affecting Palawan, the Visayas and Mindanao, a weather specialist said yesterday.

Two of the largest rivers in Bayawan City in Negros Oriental overflowed after more than 12 hours of heavy rains, which also caused landslides in several areas and forced residents from 13 barangays to evacuate.

Gyms, schools

The OCD 7, Director Morante said, issued advisories on Saturday night after being
informed by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) that Negros Oriental will experience heavy rain.

“All local response assets were dispatched to transfer the residents to evacuation
centers,” Morante told Sun.Star Cebu.

According to a report from OCD 7, some 500 individuals were placed in the city gymnasium while 50 were brought to Pagatban Elementary School.

In Bayawan City National High School, 2,523 residents were evacuated and 350 were
transferred to Negros Oriental State University (NORSU).

About 1,000 individuals were evacuated to Integrated Business Center in Bayawan City while 20 were placed in Napit-an Elementary School.

In Siaton town, 390 individuals were brought to the gym near the municipal hall.

Bridge blocked

The affected barangays in Bayawan City were identified as Banga, Maninihon, Poblacion, Villareal, Nangka, Suba, Ubos, Pagatban and Kalumboyan.

In Siaton town, the affected barangays were Poblacion I, Poblacion II, Poblacion IV, San Jose, Caticugan, Maloh, Cabangahan, Giliga-on, Bonawon, Apoloy.

A bridge leading to Bacolod City was impassable for heavy vehicles because of a crack. The Bayawan City Memorial Park was also damaged.

Immediately, the response assets of Bayawan City were deployed, together with the local police.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) provided food, water and medicine to the evacuees.

Morante, during the interview, said the local government should also watch out for typhoons in case the flood water will subside.

“In the last quarter this year, daghan pa gyud ang mosud nga bagyo (we can expect several typhoons),” she said.

As of 7 last night, Inez Padao of OCD 7 said there has been no report of casualties in the disaster.


The information came from Allen Cabaron II, who is their provincial coordinator in Negros Oriental.

In a phone interview yesterday, Cebu City LDRRMC operations officer Alvin Santillana said they were trying to contact some doctors, particularly those who went with them when they extended medical assistance to Compostela Valley, the area hit hardest by
Typhoon Pablo last year.

That time, the City sent 30 medical personnel to Compostela Valley.

Santillana said they are also coordinating with Negros’ Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Council to know if there are other forms of assistance needed in the areas hit by the flood.

Heavy rains in Metro Cebu yesterday afternoon were brought by the inter-tropical convergence zone and Typhoon Ramil, which hovered near the Batanes Islands.

The weather bureau’s Mactan, Cebu station recorded 6.2 millimeters of rainfall from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, the eye of Typhoon Ramil was spotted 1,170 kilometers east of Itbayat, Batanes. It had maximum sustained winds of 130 kilometers per hour, and moved northwest at 26 kilometers per hour.

Rainy week

Saletrero said the typhoon is expected to leave the country this afternoon.

Rains for the past few days have caused flooding in Negros Oriental. Saletrero said the weather bureau has issued rainfall advisories for the province since Oct. 1.

“For the whole week, there’s a big possibility for thunderstorms, especially during afternoons,” said Nedz Saletrero, Weather Specialist I at the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) station in Mactan.

Though there will be sunny periods, Saletrero advised the public to always bring an umbrella or raincoats, and to seek shelter during thunderstorms.

In Negros Oriental, Adrian Sedillo of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) said heavy rains caused major rivers to rise to critical levels. Canaway and Siaton Rivers are being closely monitored.

Local DRRMC teams were dispatched to monitor the situation and the water levels of various rivers and also alerted residents at risk.


As of yesterday afternoon, government and non-government agencies were conducting search and rescue operations in Bayawan City, where some areas were already flooded with knee-deep up to waist-high water, said Provincial Police Director Alet Virtucio.

“So far, no casualty has been reported,” he said.

Landslides have been reported in the barangays of Villareal and Pagatban in Bayawan City. Two other landslides in the adjacent town of Sta. Catalina, specifically in Barangay Alangilan, were also cleared by bulldozers and payloaders from the Department of Public Works and Highways and from the local government.

Virtucio said some residents were reported to be on the roofs or the second floor of their homes. A lone rubber boat has been rescuing people in the affected areas.

Sedillo said that Gov. Roel Degamo sent an engineering team yesterday to help in the clearing operations after the landslide along the national highway in Barangay Alangilan, Sta. Catalina.

In Barangay Nagbalaye, also in Sta. Catalina, vehicles were stranded because of fallen trees that blocked the road.

The Philippine Army has also sent two trucks and two squads from the 79th Infantry Battalion to help in rescue operations in Bayawan City, said Brig. Gen. Francisco Patrimonio, commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade. (PNA/Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 07, 2013.

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