TYPHOON 'PABLO' DEATH TOLL OVER 140 / PABLO VICTIMS LOOT TO SURVIVE



[PHOTO - Residents try to cross the flooded Macanhan road in Barangay Carmen leading towards Barangay Balulang as flood waters caused by Typhoon “Pablo” blocked the main road as the Cagayan de Oro River overflowed on Tuesday afternoon. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/BOBBY LAGSA]

MANILA, DECEMBER 9, 2012 (INQUIRER) By Frances Mangosing - The death toll from the powerful Typhoon “Pablo” (international name Bopha) climbed to at least 140, as rescuers battled to reach areas cut off in flash floods and mudslides, officials said Wednesday.

The 16th storm to enter the Philippines this year has so far left 51 people killed in flash floods in New Bataan, Compostela Valley, with more villagers still missing after being swept away by strong currents, the military said.

Three of the 51 fatalities were soldiers.

In Davao Oriental, 81 deaths were reported.

The Provincial Disaster Response and Reduction Management Center in Davao Oriental said the municipality of Baganga, where Pablo made landfall, recorded the biggest number of deaths so far, with 31, followed by the adjacent town of Cateel with 30.

The provincial disaster center report said 95 people were injured in Cateel while 51 were hurt in Baganga.

Caraga recorded six deaths from “Pablo”, while six more fatalities were listed in the provinces of Misamis Oriental and Occidental, Siquijor and Bukidnon.

A total of 21 persons were reported missing in the towns of Caraga, Baganga and Cateel, it added.

The storm caused 24,000 families or 120,000 persons in Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Davao region and Caraga to flee their homes. Most of the evacuees were from Surigao del Sur with over 50,000.

The towns of Baganga, Cateel and Boston remained inaccessible by land because the Mandulog Bridge in Caraga collapsed at the height of the storm.

“There’s still no electricity there. The communication lines are still down,” said Col. Leopoldo Galon, chief of the civil relations group of the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command.

Heavy to intense rains dumped by Pablo caused suspension of classes, power outages, and communication interruption in the areas of Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Davao region, Caraga and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Nearly 50 roundtrip domestic flights by Cebu Pacific Air and Zest Air were cancelled Wednesday.

As of latest, Pablo weakened further as it hovered over Northern Palawan. With a report from Nico Alconaba, Inquirer Mindanao

Originally posted at 10:27 am | Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012

‘Pablo’ victims ‘loot’ shops to survive Agence France-Presse 11:36 am | Saturday, December 8th, 2012

NEW BATAAN, Philippines — Hungry and homeless typhoon survivors appealed for help Saturday as the ravaged southern Philippines mourned its more than 500 dead and desperate people in one hard-hit town looted shops in search of food.

Four days after Typhoon Bopha struck the major island of Mindanao, officials have struggled to bring in food and relief convoys through roads that had been blocked or swept away by floods and avalanches of rock, logs and mud.

About 4,000 residents in the destroyed farming village of Maparat had eaten the enclave’s surviving chickens and were left with scavenging fallen coconut fruits, said nursing mother Virginia Dodres, 38.

“I tried to breast-feed Mica, but they’re dry from lack of food. So I gave her coconut water, and now she’s down with colic,” mother-of-four Dodres told AFP as she comforted her crying one-year-old daughter.

All the houses had been carried off by floods and survivors were sleeping 80 to a room on the bare concrete floor of the local elementary school.

They share the toilet’s two stalls and are doing their washing and bathing at a nearby spring, which is also their only source of water.

Dodres said church workers with two big pots of porridge arrived Saturday bearing the first relief aid to Maparat, located a few kilometres (miles) from the devastated town of New Bataan. The food was gobbled up within minutes.

The village of flattened coconut and banana plants is linked by a muddy footpath to the main highway, where residents hung a hand-painted arrow with a crude sign on canvas that read: “Evacuation Area. Please Help Victims.”

Rescue officials said Mindanao’s east coast accounted for all but 40 of the 546 known deaths from the strongest typhoon to hit the country this year.

More than 500 other people are missing.

At least 211,000 people are taking refuge at crowded government-run shelters, according to the civil defence office in Manila.

Military trucks brought scores of coffins into Maparat early Saturday, as unidentified corpses retrieved from under rubble piled up at a government yard.

Cedric Daep, a public safety specialist, said desperate survivors looted shops and warehouses in Cateel, a hard-hit town on the Mindanao coast in the early aftermath of Bopha’s landfall there.

“The food aid took so long to arrive that the locals broke into whatever building (was) left standing in search of something to eat,” said Daep, who was sent to the south to help organise the disaster response.

Officials said damage to roads and bridges by floods and landslides trapped 150,000 people for three days in Cateel and the nearby towns of Baganga and Boston, where they said 97 percent of buildings were flattened or unroofed.

A Philippine Navy patrol vessel with 31 tonnes of emergency relief and 132 volunteer aid workers reached Baganga on Thursday, navy spokesman Omar Tonsay told AFP, saying he had not heard of the Cateel looting.

Daep said the region suffered its last strong typhoon in 1922, and had little expertise in coping with them.

“You have to organise (pre-disaster) evacuation, relief distribution systems, and putting up temporary shelters… They were not prepared,” he said.

Daep said survivors needed a reliable supply of food, safe water, shelter and clothing.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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