BABS: BICOL TOWNS, ROADS SUBMERGED BY SWOLLEN RIVERS
Manila, Oct. 23, 1998 - The Philippine National Red Cross reports hundreds of thousands of evacuees and thousands of stranded travellers as typhoon Loleng (international code name Babs) destroyed roads, caused landslides and submerged entire villages in Bicol, Southern Tagalog and Samar provinces.
PNRC Secretary-General Lourdes Loyola said at least 50,000 families were affected by floods while 3,500 passengers were stranded because of submerged roads.
Twenty-four towns in Camarines Sur were flooded due to swollen rivers. Several fishermen were reported missing. In Catanduanes, 959 families were evacuated to several centers such as public schools and huge houses. Some 255 families were also evacuated in Camarines Norte.
Some 250 families in barangay Burok, Catbalogan in Western Samar were evacuated to the Catbalogan chapel and gymnasium. Some 125 of them had lost their homes to giant waves.
As Babs threatened yesterday Central Luzon, PNRC said three evacuation centers which can accommodate 400 families had been opened in Arayat, Floridablanca, and Sta. Ana town in Pampanga. Loyola assured that food distribution will continue, though not at all affected areas could be reached.
"We cannot have easy access to all these barangays because the power has been cut off and all communications are down. Majority of these barangays are not passable because of floods. Although we desire to give help immediately, our volunteers cannot provide accurate reports on the conditions of the affected people," Loyola said.
At Camp Aguinaldo, Defense Secretary and National Disaster Coordinating Council Chairman Orlando Mercado said that three fishermen were rescued by elements of the Navy Task Force Command and 22nd Infantry Battalion after they were threatened by rising floodwaters while fishing in a pond near Lake Bato, Camarines Sur. The rescued victims were carried by strong floods from the fishpond area, reports added.
Mel Capistrano, OCD Administrator, reported to Mercado that power supply was cut off in Albay and Catanduanes while power interruption occurred in many municipalities of Northern Samar. Telephone communication was also damaged in Virac, Catanduanes and Northern Samar.
The NDCC issued flood alert in the municipalities of Milaor, Canawan, Gainza, Minalabac, San Fernando, Bombon, Pamplona, Calabanga, Libmanan, Camaligan, Naga City, Bato and Baao in Camarines Sur. The Tumbahan River in Aklan overflowed, prompting residents in neighboring areas to evacuate.
Chief Supt. Reynaldo Acop, director of the PNP Regional Office 4 in Southern Tagalog, told Mercado that several landslides were monitored along the National Highway in Atimonan and Calauag, Quezon. However, Acop said that the road remained passable to all vehicles and workers from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) have proceeded to the landslides areas to start rehabilitation work. Electricity was totally cut off in the entire Marinduque province.
In Albay, Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) chief Maj. Gen. Voltaire Gazmin said residents living around the rivers of Tanglad, Cabilugan and Ligao were ordered to evacuate following the issuance of a flood alert due to river swelling.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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