DEATH TOLL RISING FROM NON-STOP RAINS, FLOODS, LANDSLIDES IN MINDANAO

The number of fatalities in the widespread flooding and landslides caused by days of heavy rain over large areas of Mindanao increased to 23 yesterday with nine still missing, regional disaster and military reports said. Office of Civil Defense (OCD) regional director Loreto Rirao said Compostela Valley recorded five dead while Davao Oriental has eight. In Davao Oriental, Rirao said six people perished in a landslide while two others from Barangay Marayag, Lupon town drowned after being swept away by rampaging floodwaters. Six people were buried in a landslide on the island province of Dinagat, while three others drowned in nearby areas, OCD regional official John Lenwayan reported. “Major rivers overflowed, causing people to drown in areas still recovering from Typhoon Pablo,” OCD operations officer Franz Irag said. Typhoon Pablo hit Mindanao in December 2012. “Many of the victims had not managed to rebuild and were staying in temporary shelters when they were hit by fresh flooding,” he said. The bad weather also forced more than 194,000 people to flee their homes, Irag and Lenwayan said.

ALSO: Pagasa: More rains seen in Mindanao

Huge waves destroyed homes in Jolo, Sulu, leaving hundreds of families homeless, as a low pressure area (LPA) continued to bring rains over large portions of Mindanao, the Visayas and Bicol. The weather bureau said the accumulated rainfall since the start of the year in several areas of the Visayas and Mindanao had already exceeded normal levels for the entire month of January. The heavy rains have brought flash floods and landslides, killing at least 20 people and displacing more than 100,000 people mainly in areas devastated by Typhoon “Pablo” in 2012. In a press conference at the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), weather specialist Chris Perez said the LPA was almost stationary, hovering over a part of Southern Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao. Perez said that as of 4 p.m., Tuesday, the center of the LPA was spotted 50 kilometers south of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, or 80 km northeast of Surigao City. Perez pointed out that the amount of rainfall from Jan. 1 to Jan. 14 in nine areas of the Visayas and Mindanao—the Surigao provinces; Lumbia in Cagayan de Oro; Dipolog City; Butuan City; Tacloban City; Tagbilaran City; Mactan town in Cebu; Maasin town in Leyte; and the Davao provinces—had already exceeded normal levels for the entire month of January.

ALSO: 2,500 stranded at Sorsogon port due to lack of RoRo vessels

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines—Close to 2,500 passengers and more than a
hundred vehicles were marooned since Monday evening at the Matnog port in Sorsogon while another four-kilometer queue of vehicles were waiting to get to the port amid a shortage of roll-on-roll-off vessels to bring them across to the port of Allen in Samar. Office of Civil Defense (OCD)-Bicol regional director Rafael Bernardo Alejandro, quoting a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) report, said that as of noon Tuesday, 2,500 passengers, 182 trucks, 20 cars, and 57 buses were at the Matnog port waiting for their cue to board available RoRo vessels bound for the Allen port. Alejandro, in a text message, said these vehicles were in a long queue occupying about four kilometers of the Maharlika Highway leading to the port in Matnog. Alejandro told the Inquirer that the lack of available RoRo vessels has led to the stranding of thousands of passengers. He said the PCG has asked the various shipping lines operating at the port to send additional vessels to ferry passengers, trucks, buses and cars bound for Samar.


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Death toll rising from non-stop rains

MANILA, JANUARY 14, 2014 (PHILSTAR)  By Jaime Laude - The number of fatalities in the widespread flooding and landslides caused by days of heavy rain over large areas of Mindanao increased to 23 yesterday with nine still missing, regional disaster and military reports said.

Office of Civil Defense (OCD) regional director Loreto Rirao said Compostela Valley recorded five dead while Davao Oriental has eight.

In Davao Oriental, Rirao said six people perished in a landslide while two others from Barangay Marayag, Lupon town drowned after being swept away by rampaging floodwaters.

Six people were buried in a landslide on the island province of Dinagat, while three others drowned in nearby areas, OCD regional official John Lenwayan reported.

“Major rivers overflowed, causing people to drown in areas still recovering from Typhoon Pablo,” OCD operations officer Franz Irag said. Typhoon Pablo hit Mindanao in December 2012.

“Many of the victims had not managed to rebuild and were staying in temporary shelters when they were hit by fresh flooding,” he said.

The bad weather also forced more than 194,000 people to flee their homes, Irag and Lenwayan said.

The two officials said the rains started abating on Monday and some of those who took refuge in government-run shelters were returning to their homes.

As of yesterday, Rirao also reported seven people still missing while 34 others were injured.

The widespread flooding and landslides also affected 31,062 families or 152,276 people in the region’s 16 affected towns, two cities and 100 barangays.

They are now staying in and outside 92 evacuation centers while waiting for the weather to improve and for flooding to subside, Rirao added.

Heavy rains over the weekend also forced more than 1,700 families to evacuate in Cagayan de Oro City.

In the Caraga region, OCD regional director Liza Masa said the seven fatalities came from Agusan del Sur and Diganat Island.

Masa said most of the fatalities drowned after being swept away by floodwaters.

The towns of Sta. Josefa, Sibagat and Butuan City are now under a state of calamity.

In Western Mindanao, military reports showed three people also perished in the flooding caused by days of heavy rain over Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga del Norte.

The prevailing severe weather system also resulted in a storm surge that destroyed houses in Jolo, Sulu.

In Barangay Busbus, the storm surge destroyed 14 houses, while 41 houses in Barangay Tulay, 72 houses in the Chinese Pier and one in Barangay Takut-Takut were also destroyed.

The weekend floods and torrential rains also destroyed infrastructure, including six bridges that collapsed in Davao Oriental.

The town of Cateel, one of the towns badly affected by Typhoon Pablo in 2012, became isolated after two bridges leading to the town collapsed due to flashfloods.

The town of Caraga was also isolated with the collapse of two bridges in barangays San Jose and Baogo.

The towns of Manay, Baganga, Taragona and others could not be reached due to collapsed bridges and impassable roads.

At least four towns in Davao Oriental were also placed under a state of calamity because of the massive floods, particularly in Panabo City, and the towns of Carmen, Tagum City and Asuncion.

Public Works and Highways regional director Mariano Alquiza said several major roads were blocked by landslides in Compostela Valley, among them the sections of Montevista-Mati Boundary Road in Araibo, Liboton, and the highway going to Davao Oriental.

Alquiza also reported that some roads in the Caraga and Davao regions were cut off due to landslides, road slips, and floods.

Flights have been cancelled from Manila to Cagayan de Oro City as well as Tacloban, Naga and Catarman due to the bad weather.

In Misamis Oriental, all flights were cancelled and classes has been suspended.

Relief and rescue agencies led by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Philippine Navy began delivering food supplies to Davao Oriental, particularly in the villages isolated by heavy floods.

Coast Guard regional commander Commodore George Ursabia said they are focusing their efforts in Davao Oriental while the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) is attending to Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley.

Ursabia said that they brought relief goods to the towns of Baganga, Cateel and Boston that were isolated by floods.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has distributed 23,442 food packs worth P5.9 million to Davao Oriental and Davao del Norte, while P272,023 worth of relief goods were distributed by local officials in the Caraga region.

The DSWD said some 220 evacuation centers remain open in the affected regions to provide temporary shelter to 20,005 families, while 5,086 families outside the evacuation centers are also being given relief assistance.

The DSWD regional field office reported that 198 houses were damaged in Davao Oriental while 18 were destroyed in Compostela Valley.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has activated its Quick Reaction Team to determine the number of workers for emergency employment who were displaced by floods and landslides in the region.

The local government of Dinagat, for its part, offered cash assistance to each of the families affected by the flooding.

The Mindanao floods occurred amid an international rehabilitation effort for areas destroyed by Super Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan in November last year. Yolanda left at least 7,986 people dead or missing across central Philippines, according to a running government tally. Bodies are still being recovered from the rubble.

State weather forecasters said the amount of rain that fell over Mindanao and the Visayas over the weekend has surpassed the monthly average rainfall.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the prevailing low-pressure area over the region will continue to dump rains in the next few days.

PAGASA weather forecaster Chris Perez said the areas which have surpassed their average rainfall for January include the areas of Davao; Hinatuan; Surigao; Lumbia; Dipolog; Butuan; Tacloban, Leyte; Tagbilaran, Bohol; Mactan, Cebu and Maasin, Leyte.

The areas of Malaybalay, Bukidnon; Borongan, Eastern Samar and Catarman, Northern Samar are close to breaching their average rainfall for this month, Perez said.

Perez added the weather prediction models used by PAGASA showed two possible scenarios for the low-pressure area.

One scenario showed the low-pressure area will remain almost stationary and will continue to affect the Visayas and Mindanao until Friday before moving westward toward the West Philippine Sea, where it is likely to intensify into a tropical depression.

The other scenario showed the low-pressure area will remain almost stationary over the Visayas and Mindanao until Friday but will move east toward Eastern Visayas.

Perez said rainy weather will persist over the eastern section of the Visayas and Mindanao and the Bicol region in the next two to three days.

PAGASA warned residents of Davao, Compostela Valley, Surigao, Bukidnon, Misamis, Dinagat, Leyte, Samar, Bohol, Cebu, Masbate, Sorsogon, Albay, Catanduanes and Camarines of more floods and landslides.

Rough to very rough sea conditions will also continue to affect the seaboards of Luzon and the Visayas. – Edith Regalado, Ben Serrano, Roel Pareño, Mayen Jaymalin, Gerry Lee-Gorit, Rudy Santos, Evelyn Macairan, Helen Flores, Rainier Allan Ronda

FROM THE INQUIRER

Pagasa: More rains seen in Mindanao By Jeannette I. Andrade Inquirer Mindanao, Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:41 am | Wednesday, January 15th, 2014 7 28


http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/files/2014/01/Lapayan-Napo-Bridge-0115.jpg
BRIDGE WASHED AWAY. Hundreds of commuters and vehicles are stranded following the collapse of the Lapayan-Napo Bridge, which used to link Zamboanga Peninsula to Iligan City and Northern Mindanao. RICHEL V. UMEL/INQUIRER MINDANAO

Huge waves destroyed homes in Jolo, Sulu, leaving hundreds of families homeless, as a low pressure area (LPA) continued to bring rains over large portions of Mindanao, the Visayas and Bicol.

The weather bureau said the accumulated rainfall since the start of the year in several areas of the Visayas and Mindanao had already exceeded normal levels for the entire month of January.

The heavy rains have brought flash floods and landslides, killing at least 20 people and displacing more than 100,000 people mainly in areas devastated by Typhoon “Pablo” in 2012.

In a press conference at the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), weather specialist Chris Perez said the LPA was almost stationary, hovering over a part of Southern Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.

Perez said that as of 4 p.m., Tuesday, the center of the LPA was spotted 50 kilometers south of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, or 80 km northeast of Surigao City.

Perez pointed out that the amount of rainfall from Jan. 1 to Jan. 14 in nine areas of the Visayas and Mindanao—the Surigao provinces; Lumbia in Cagayan de Oro; Dipolog City; Butuan City; Tacloban City; Tagbilaran City; Mactan town in Cebu; Maasin town in Leyte; and the Davao provinces—had already exceeded normal levels for the entire month of January.

778 mm in two weeks

The biggest volume of rainfall in the first two weeks was recorded in the Surigao provinces, reaching 777.6 millimeters—higher than the 609.4-mm normal level for the whole month of January.

Acting Pagasa Administrator Vicente Malano said the LPA generating so much rain was not an isolated case. He said that it was usually during this period that rains would pound Mindanao.

“It is caused by the interaction of the LPA with the amihan (northeast monsoon) and other weather systems below the equator like the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ).

Although it is far, it still has an effect,” he said.

Two to three days

Perez said that rainy weather was expected to continue over the eastern sections of the Visayas and Mindanao as well as over the Bicol region in the next two to three days.

He warned of possible flash floods and landslides in the Davao provinces, Compostela Valley, Surigao provinces, Bukidnon, Misamis provinces, Dinagat Island, Leyte, Samar, Bohol, Cebu, Masbate, Sorsogon, Albay, Catanduanes and Camarines provinces.

More flights canceled

At Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), domestic flights continued to be canceled on Tuesday due to the LPA that was bringing bad weather not only to Mindanao but also to the Visayas and Bicol.

As of 1 p.m. on Tuesday, 22 Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and AirAsia Zest flights had been canceled at Naia Terminal 3 and Terminal 4.

Close to 2,500 passengers and over a hundred vehicles were stranded since Monday evening at the Matnog port in Sorsogon while a 4-kilometer queue of vehicles was waiting to get to the port amid a shortage of roll-on, roll-off (Ro-Ro) vessels to bring them across to the port of Allen in Samar.

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD)-Bicol director, Rafael Bernardo Alejandro, quoting a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) report, said that as of noon Tuesday, 2,500 passengers, 182 trucks, 20 cars and 57 buses were at the Matnog port waiting for their cue to board available Ro-Ro vessels bound for the Allen port.

Jolo wharf

PO2 Alfradzkhan Abdurajak, acting spokesman of the Sulu police office, said four villages on the coast of Jolo were affected by the huge waves.

Some portions of the Jolo wharf were also damaged by the giant waves, he reported on Monday. No casualties was reported.

Abdurajak said a food supply problem, particularly on meat, vegetables and spices, had started to develop in Jolo since Sunday because no sea vessel could venture out to Zamboanga City due to the huge waves.

More devastation, including the collapse of Lumao Bridge in Barangay (village) Alegria in Cateel, Davao Oriental, was reported on Tuesday.

The bridge was one of the eight major bridges damaged in Davao Oriental due to the torrential rains.

Dinagat slide

In Dinagat Islands, the Office of the Civil Defense in Northern Mindanao confirmed the death of six residents due to a landslide that buried a portion of the mining area of Cagdianao on Monday.

The Cagdianao slide, which buried three homes, was among similar incidents reported in Caraga, said the Office of Civil Defense director, Liza Mazo.

Mazo said that based on the report reaching her office, the victims of the Cagdianao slide were trying to leave their homes in Barangay Poblacion following an evacuation advice but cascading rocks and mud from a nearby slope caught up with them.

“We have already issued a public warning about the possible landslides in Dinagat because there are many higher areas characterized with mud,” Mazo told the Inquirer by phone.

Killed were Atanacio Geltura 62; Realyn Geltura, 41; Michelle Geltura, 34; Felixberto Muñoz, 34; Alqueder Muñoz, 2; and Primitivo Morales, 33.

Two others were plucked alive from a mountain of debris in a rescue operation that authorities had launched.
“It was unfortunate the other victims were not able to make it,” Mazo said.

Acting Dinagat Gov. Benglen Ecleo said the provincial government had sent a team to clear the roads leading to the town center of debris to restore access to some communities that the landslides had cut off.

Landslides and flash floods also killed 14 people, including children, in Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental and Agusan del Sur since Saturday, when the LPA intensified.

In Surigao del Norte, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management officer Gilbert Gonzales said several areas were also flooded, while a person was reported missing.

On Monday, evacuations of residents continued as flooding persisted in many areas.

Nearly 130,000 displaced

In Southern Mindanao alone, which groups the four Davao provinces and Compostela Valley, nearly 130,000 people had been displaced as of Tuesday. The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said more displacements may be expected in the coming days.

At least 33 roads and bridges were also damaged in the region alone.

In Compostela Valley for example, most of the roads there are still not passable to light vehicles, according to Raul Villocino, the provincial disaster action officer.

In Davao del Norte, Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario ordered the suspension of classes due to the foul weather.

State of calamity

Several local government units in Davao del Norte have been placed under a state of calamity as a result of the flooding.

In Davao Oriental, Gov. Corazon Malanyaon reported that “all possible routes to the east coast towns (Manay, Caraga, Baganga, Cateel and Boston) were inaccessible, hampering the transport of relief goods.

Malanyaon said 83 villages were affected either by landslides or flash floods that displaced a total of 4,909 families.

Houses swept away

“Among the areas heavily affected are the towns on the eastern seaboard and parts of the province’s gulf towns that include the village of Marayag in Lupon that endured massive flash floods sweeping away houses while carrying down huge rocks and debris to the village’s center,” she said.

Malanyaon said she had asked the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to declare a state of calamity in the province.

No-build zones

She said residents in the heavily flooded areas would not be allowed to rebuild their homes there, which would be included among the danger zones in the province.

In Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte, at least 1,285 people were displaced when floods hit the coastal village of Lapinig on Monday.

The Lapinig village chair, Pacita Simbrano, said a 3-km-long debris caused by a landslide near the village momentarily cut traffic between Zamboanga del Sur and Lanao del Norte.

Tacloban City

The nonstop rain since last week has caused water to rise knee-deep in some areas in Tacloban City, fueling fears among residents.

Classes in the elementary and high school levels, both in public and private, were suspended in the city on Tuesday afternoon.

Elizabeth Dacatimbang, a resident of Barangay 85 in San Jose district, said she got scared when the unabated rain caused water to rise.

“In fact, we are now preparing our things just in case we will evacuate,” said the 54-year-old mother.—Reports from Allan Nawal, Chris Panganiban, Julie S. Alipala and Richel V. Umel, Inquirer Mindanao; Joey Gabieta, Inquirer Visayas; Mar S. Arguelles Shiena Barrameda, Southern Luzon; Jaymee T. Gamil and Jerry Esplanada in Manila

2,500 stranded at Sorsogon port due to lack of RoRo vessels By Mar S. Arguelles, Shiena Barrameda Inquirer Southern Luzon 11:07 pm | Tuesday, January 14th, 2014


NAGA CITY – At least 177 passengers remained stranded in seaports in Camarines Sur over the last 24 hours as moderate to heavy rains spawned by the northeast monsoon continued to pour without let up across Bicol since Friday last week.

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines—Close to 2,500 passengers and more than a hundred vehicles were marooned since Monday evening at the Matnog port in Sorsogon while another four-kilometer queue of vehicles were waiting to get to the port amid a shortage of roll-on-roll-off vessels to bring them across to the port of Allen in Samar.

Office of Civil Defense (OCD)-Bicol regional director Rafael Bernardo Alejandro, quoting a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) report, said that as of noon Tuesday, 2,500 passengers, 182 trucks, 20 cars, and 57 buses were at the Matnog port waiting for their cue to board available RoRo vessels bound for the Allen port.

Alejandro, in a text message, said these vehicles were in a long queue occupying about four kilometers of the Maharlika Highway leading to the port in Matnog.

Alejandro told the Inquirer that the lack of available RoRo vessels has led to the stranding of thousands of passengers.

He said the PCG has asked the various shipping lines operating at the port to send additional vessels to ferry passengers, trucks, buses and cars bound for Samar.

There are four shipping companies each operating a RoRo vessel plying the Matnog-Allen route on a daily basis, according to Alejandro.

In Camarines Sur, 177 passengers have been stranded in seaports in Camarines Sur over the last 24 hours as moderate to heavy rains spawned by the northeast monsoon continued to pour without let-up across Bicol since Friday last week.

The passengers were stranded since Tuesday after small sea vessels were forbidden from leaving the province’s ports after the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Adminsitration (PAGASA) issued gale warnings for Bicol and the Visayas, according the latest report released by the Philippine Coast Guard in Camarines Sur.

Stranded were 127 passengers at the Pasacao port and 57 at the Tamban port in Tinambac town, said the PCG-Camarines Sur report released Tuesday by apprentice seaman Hernanie Alviola.

PAGASA, in its bulletin as of 5 a.m., said strong to gale force winds associated with the surge of northeast monsoon remain the threat for sea vessels in the seaboards of Northern Luzon, eastern seaboard of Central Luzon, the seaboards of Southern Luzon and the eastern seaboard of Visayas.

Fishing boats and other small seacraft were advised not to venture out into the sea while larger sea vessels were alerted against big waves by both PAGASA and PCG.

In Albay, Gov. Joey Salceda for the second day suspended classes in the pre-kinder and kindergarten levels in the entire province as a precautionary measure in view of heightened risks to public health, safety and welfare due to the continuous rains since Friday last week.

The Albay PDRRMC, in a bulletin posted on its Facebook page, maintained its call to all local disaster councils to be on alert for possible flooding, lahar and mud flows and landslide.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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