Tornado injures 3-A A +A
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
CEBU CITY -- Cebu was warned of a possible storm surge on Tuesday, but a tornado struck instead.
At least 38 houses, a barangay sports complex and several electric posts were damaged when the tornado tore through Barangays Tisa and Mambaling in Cebu City around 2 p.m. Three people were injured, including an 80-year-old woman, after they were hit by debris.
The tornado also passed through Barangay San Roque in Talisay City, but no damage or injury was reported there.
Roofs and other parts of houses made of light materials were dislodged as the tornado circled around the Muslim and Badjao communities and in the coastal sitios of Lawis, Naba, Viking and Alaska in Mambaling.
The howling sound and strong winds sent residents in a panic, and they ran out of their makeshift houses as winds brought with it GI sheets, tarpaulin and rubbish while moving toward the South Road Properties (SRP).
It was the howling sound and his neighbors’ cry for help that prompted Eduardo Villacorta to check what was going on in Sitio Naba.
“Naghaguros ang hangin. Shhh, shhhh, shhh (The wind blew furiously),” he said, recalling what he heard when the tornado approached their village.
“Mao na to akong nakitan, puerteng daghanang nanglupad murag mga papel na gidala sa hangin… Ang mga atop na diay to sa akong silingan nga nangaibot ug nanglupad padung sa SRP (I saw my neighbors’ roofs being blown around like paper),” he told Sun.Star Cebu, just minutes after the tornado dispersed in the waters off the SRP.
A hut made of amakan in Alaska collapsed, while some fishing boats were swept away by the wind.
Power supply in some parts of Mambaling was cut after debris got caught in the power lines, causing it to trip.
As of Tuesday night, some areas remained powerless, as Veco continued with repairs.
On the South Coastal Road, traffic was at a standstill, as some motorists stepped out of their vehicles to take photos or video of the tornado.
City Councilor Dave Tumulak, presiding officer of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, was in City Hall when he received a call about the tornado hovering in Barangay Tisa at 2:10 p.m.
He immediately proceeded to the SRP and ordered the closure of the entry and exit points of the South Coastal Road to abort any damage to passing vehicles.
The damage that the tornado caused was visible.
Tumulak and other personnel of the Basak Pardo Emergency Response (BPER) stopped in the middle of the coastal road, a vantage point to view the affected areas.
He admitted that the City Government was not prepared for the phenomenon since they were expecting only heavy rains due to Tropical Depression Domeng.
Last Monday, the Department of Science and Technology’s Project NOAH warned of storm surges in some towns in Cebu.
“Kalit gyud kaayo (It all happened so suddenly). The last time we checked satellite readings at 10 a.m., everything was clear mao to nga paggawas sa buhawi, nakalitan ta (so when the tornado surfaced, we were surprised),” he told Sun.Star Cebu.
He identified the injured persons as Roderick Lim, 36, Lantana Mustarani, 80, and Estelita Flora, 28, all residents of Sitio Alaska.
They suffered lacerations and scrapes in different parts of their body but did not require hospitalization after BPER personnel gave them first aid.
Tumulak said there was no need to evacuate the affected families since their houses were only damaged. The City distributed canvas materials to serve as temporary roofs.
The tornado was felt most strongly in Sitio Viking, where one by one, the GI sheets on top of the barangay’s sports complex were ripped off and sent in all directions.
The sports complex is the designated evacuation center during fires and disasters in Mambaling.
Tumulak said that despite the damage, residents were still lucky that the tornado dispersed in the waters off the SRP, and not in the densely populated coastal sitios of the village.
“The damage would have been worse if it made landfall in Mambaling,” he told Sun.Star Cebu.
Minutes after the tornado dispersed, residents swam into the river to retrieve the GI sheets, plywood and other housing materials they could find.
On Ma. Gochan St., a rescue team from BPER helped residents remove a fallen tree, which blocked half of the road.
Today (April 9), Tumulak said, the disaster council will continue assessing the damage and the affected areas to find out what assistance the City can extend to the affected families and barangays.
Tornadoes last occurred in Cebu in November last year, damaging about 70 houses in four cities and a northern town.
A tornado also swept through Mambaling and Talisay City’s coastal area in June last year, damaging 70 houses. (Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 09, 2014.