TROPICAL DEPRESSION 'AGATON' PUMMELS MINDANAO: DEATH TOLL: 41

Floods and landslides triggered by Tropical Depression Agaton claimed four more
lives in Mindanao over the weekend, bringing to 41 the death toll from the first weather disturbance to hit the Philippines this year, officials said on Sunday. Agaton (international name: Lingling) has wreaked havoc across Mindanao, affecting more than 580,000 people, 161,000 of whom have been displaced and moved to evacuation centers. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) raised the number of dead by four from Friday’s toll, as the weather bureau said further “moderate to heavy” rains were expected over large areas of Mindanao. Public storm warning signal No. 1 has been hoisted in six provinces that are expected to be hit by 60-kilometer-per-hour winds over the next 36 hours. These are Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Compostela Valley.

ALSO: Storm surge slams into Surigao del Norte village; 13 houses swept away Inquirer Mindanao

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said a storm surge hit a village in Gigaquit town, Surigao del Norte last Saturday, destroying at least 13 houses. No one was hurt in the storm surge that slammed into the coastal village of Alambique as residents had already left their homes during a preemptive evacuation, PDRRMO officer Gilbert Gonzales said Sunday. As many as 3,609 families in the province have evacuated as most town centers were flooded.

ALSO: State of calamity up in Lanao del Norte, 19 towns as Agaton nears

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – As Tropical Depression Agaton slowly moved closer to Mindanao, spawning landslides and floods on the island, a province and 19 towns and cities were declared to be under a state of calamity. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said a state of calamity has already been declared in the province of Lanao del Norte, including Iligan City, where rivers overflowed, flooding villages. The towns of Kapalong, Carmen, Asuncion, New Corella and Tagum in Davao del Norte and the towns of Tarragona, Manay, Caraga, Baganga, Cateel and Boston in Davao Oriental were also declared under a state of calamity. The same declaration was earlier made in the towns of Sta. Josefa, Sibagat and Bunawan in Agusan del Sur, Butuan City in Agusan del Norte, and the towns of Liang, Tago, San Miguel and Bislig in Surigao del Sur. The NDRRMC said flooding and landslides caused by continuous rain and strong winds brought by Agaton killed at least 40 people in Mindanao.


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TROPICAL DEPRESSION 'AGATON' PUMMELS MINDANAO: DEATH TOLL: 41


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TRACING ‘AGATON’. An employee of the weather bureau shows the location of Tropical Depression “Agaton” using the agency’s newly acquired Earth Wind Map program. ALEXIS CORPUZ

MANILA, JANUARY 20, 2014 (INQUIRER) By Marlon Ramos- Floods and landslides triggered by Tropical Depression Agaton claimed four more lives in Mindanao over the weekend, bringing to 41 the death toll from the first weather disturbance to hit the Philippines this year, officials said on Sunday.

Agaton (international name: Lingling) has wreaked havoc across Mindanao, affecting more than 580,000 people, 161,000 of whom have been displaced and moved to evacuation centers.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) raised the number of dead by four from Friday’s toll, as the weather bureau said further “moderate to heavy” rains were expected over large areas of Mindanao.

Public storm warning signal No. 1 has been hoisted in six provinces that are expected to be hit by 60-kilometer-per-hour winds over the next 36 hours. These are Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Compostela Valley.

As of 4 p.m. Sunday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) expected Agaton to be 215 kilometers southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, or 220 km east of Davao City, carrying maximum winds of 55 kph and moving southwest at 5 kph.

If it maintains its speed, it could linger over Mindanao until Wednesday, weather forecaster Gener Quitlong said.
“If it makes a landfall in Davao Oriental by Monday or Tuesday, it could weaken into a low pressure and dissipate,” Quitlong said. “But we are not discounting the possibility that it could change direction and intensify.”

He explained that Agaton was unable to move out of the country and kept changing direction because it was trapped between two high-pressure zones caused by the northeast monsoon.

It is expected to be 155 km southeast of Davao City by this afternoon, 60 km southeast of General Santos City by tomorrow and 205 km southwest of it or outside the Philippine area of responsibility by Wednesday, Quitlong said.

The NDRRMC said a state of calamity had been declared in Lanao del Norte province, including Iligan City, where incessant rains swelled rivers, flooding villages.

The towns of Kapalong, Carmen, Asuncion, New Corella and Tagum in Davao del Norte province and the towns of Tarragona, Manay, Caraga, Baganga, Cateel and Boston in Davao Oriental province were also placed under a state of calamity, the council said.

Earlier, the towns of Sta. Josefa, Sibagat and Bunawan in Agusan del Sur, Butuan City in Agusan del Norte, and the towns of Liang, Tago, San Miguel and Bislig in Surigao del Sur province were declared under a state of calamity, the NDRRMC said.

Death toll rises

The council said flooding and landslides caused by incessant rains and strong winds brought by Agaton killed 40 people in Mindanao.

The Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in Surigao del Sur on Sunday reported that a body was recovered in a river in the town of San Miguel, raising the death toll to 41.

The NDRRMC said the casualties were reported in the Zamboanga Peninsula, northern Mindanao, Davao and Caraga.

Sixty-five people were also hurt while five others were reported missing as heavy rains flooded low-lying villages and triggered landslides in mountainous areas, it said.

Nine-year-old Reynaldo Emata, of Lower Sihayon, Zone 10A, Tagoloan town in Misamis Oriental, drowned on Saturday, according to the council.

The others who died in the flooding were Eddie Largo, of Compostela town, Compostela Valley province, and Francisco Rivera, a resident of Tagum City, Davao del Norte, who were both reported missing before their bodies were found separately on Saturday.

The body reported by the PIA in Surigao del Sur yesterday was not immediately identified.

Incessant rains

The council said 14 landslides and six flash floods had occurred since heavy rains dumped by Agaton began to pound the areas within its 300-km diameter last week.

It advised against sea travel off eastern Luzon and eastern Visayas.

It said 123,444 families, or 587,115 people, had been affected by incessant rains in 635 villages in the 15 provinces of northern Mindanao, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, southern Mindanao and Caraga.

Agaton also displaced 161,808 people, who are now staying in 436 evacuation centers, and damaged 1,900 houses, the NDRRMC said.

More than 7,300 passengers were still stranded and 120 sea vessels and rolling cargoes were marooned in seven ports in Visayas and Bicol.

The NDRRMC estimated damage to infrastructure and crops at P313.8 million.

Ready for emergencies

Fearing that Agaton might make a landfall in Governor Generoso town in Davao Oriental, the local government began to prepare residents for evacuation on Sunday.

Governor Generoso Mayor Vicente Orencia said emergency responders were ready for action at the operations center, while village officials were knocking on doors to tell people to prepare for preemptive evacuation.

Skies were overcast in Davao Oriental yesterday, with light to moderate rains.

Several towns, including Baganga, Cateel and Boston, which were ravaged by Typhoon “Pablo” in December 2012, remained isolated after bridges had been washed out in the floods.

Local authorities in Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley stepped up preparations for evacuations.

More than 350 families were moved to safer grounds in two towns in Compostela Valley in anticipation of flash floods, local officials said.

Compostela Valley Gov. Arturo Uy called off classes at all school levels throughout the province.

Moderate to strong winds have been hitting Surigao del Norte and Dinagat provinces since Saturday night.

Evacuations

In Surigao City, the roads were littered with uprooted trees and metal roofing blown off houses. There were no reports of deaths or injuries, though hundreds of families had been taken to evacuation centers.

In Surigao del Norte, heavy rains and floods sent more than 8,000 people to evacuation centers.

Severely hit were the towns of Gigaquit, Tubod and Mainit whose residents fled when the waters of Lake Mainit began to rise on Saturday.

Residents of the three mining towns also feared landslides.

In Butuan City, two major evacuation centers were already crowded with displaced residents.

Butuan Mayor Ferdinand Amante appealed for relief for the evacuees, particularly hot meals, water, milk for children, mats and blankets.

Classes at all levels have been suspended throughout Agusan del Norte.

Sea travelers stranded

The bad weather forced the suspension of sea travel, stranding up to 7,325 travelers as of Sunday.

Cmdr. Armand Balilo, spokesman for the Philippine Coast Guard, said most of the stranded travelers were in the ports of Matnog, Sorsogon (3,570) and Allen, Northern Samar (2,412).

The others were in Surigao City, 368; Maasin, Leyte, 318; Bulan, Sorsogon, 200; Pasacao, Camarines Sur, 180; Cebu City, 151; Ormoc City, 90; and Masbate, 36.—With reports from Jennette I. Andrade and Jerry E. Esplanada in Manila; Karlos Manlupig, Frinston Lim, Danilo Adorador III, Chris Panganiban and Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao; and AFP

Storm surge slams into Surigao del Norte village; 13 houses swept away Inquirer Mindanao 8:36 pm | Sunday, January 19th, 2014


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DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said a storm surge hit a village in Gigaquit town, Surigao del Norte last Saturday, destroying at least 13 houses.

No one was hurt in the storm surge that slammed into the coastal village of Alambique as residents had already left their homes during a preemptive evacuation, PDRRMO officer Gilbert Gonzales said Sunday.

As many as 3,609 families in the province have evacuated as most town centers were flooded.

State of calamity up in Lanao del Norte, 19 towns as Agaton nears Inquirer Mindanao 4:09 pm | Sunday, January 19th, 2014


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In this Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014 photo, a house is half submerged in floodwaters following flooding of Compostela Valley and nearby provinces in southern Philippines. AP

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – As Tropical Depression Agaton slowly moved closer to Mindanao, spawning landslides and floods on the island, a province and 19 towns and cities were declared to be under a state of calamity.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said a state of calamity has already been declared in the province of Lanao del Norte, including Iligan City, where rivers overflowed, flooding villages.

The towns of Kapalong, Carmen, Asuncion, New Corella and Tagum in Davao del Norte and the towns of Tarragona, Manay, Caraga, Baganga, Cateel and Boston in Davao Oriental were also declared under a state of calamity.

The same declaration was earlier made in the towns of Sta. Josefa, Sibagat and Bunawan in Agusan del Sur, Butuan City in Agusan del Norte, and the towns of Liang, Tago, San Miguel and Bislig in Surigao del Sur.

The NDRRMC said flooding and landslides caused by continuous rain and strong winds brought by Agaton killed at least 40 people in Mindanao.

The Philippine Information Agency-Surigao del Sur on Sunday said a body was recovered in a river in the town of San Miguel, raising the death toll to 41.

The NDRRMC said the fatalities were reported in Western Mindanao, Northern Mindanao, Davao and Caraga.

More or less 65 people were also hurt while five others were still missing as of Sunday, the NDRRMC added.

The Philippine Atmospherics, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) posted that Agaton would be at 120 kilometers southeast of Davao City on Monday morning and at 60 km south of General Santos City by Tuesday morning.

By Wednesday morning, Agaton would be at 220 km southwest of General Santos City or out of the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), Pagasa added.

Fearing that Agaton would make landfall in Governor Generoso town in Davao Oriental, the local government unit has already mobilized all resources to prepare residents for possible flooding, landslides and storm surges.

Governor Generoso mayor Vicente Orencia said emergency responders have been placed on standby at the operations center. He said barangay officials have also started to conduct house visits to inform residents to prepare their belongings for possible pre-emptive evacuation.

“We have already advised residents living along the shorelines and landslide area to prepare,” Orencia said.
Evacuation centers in the town have been prepared to accept displaced residents, Orencia said.

On Sunday afternoon, dark clouds hovered over Davao Oriental, bringing in light to moderate rains.

“We are praying that Agaton will just pass by and would not devastate us,” Orencia said.

Several towns, including the typhoon Pablo-devastated towns of Baganga, Cateel and Boston have remained isolated after bridges were destroyed.

In Davao City, Allan Manubay, leader of the Urban Search and Rescue Team 2 of the Central 911, said all responders have been placed on standby to respond to flooding and landslides.

On Sunday afternoon, the Philippine Coast Guard canceled all boat trips from Davao City to Talicud and Kaputian islands in the Island Garden City of Samal, following the 1 p.m. Pagasa advisory putting Davao del Sur and Davao city under storm signal number one because of Tropical Depression Agaton.

The boats plying these routes are considered small and could not withstand big waves and strong wind.

However, ferry boat trips plying Sasa port here and Villarica pier in Babak on Samal island, were still allowed at day time but would have to stop at 6 p.m., the advisory said.

Local authorities in Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley have stepped up their disaster readiness as rain clouds hovered these areas amid the threat posed by Agaton.

At least 353 families have also been moved to safer ground in two Compostela Valley towns due to the possibility of flooding and landslides there, officials said.

In Davao del Norte, Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario activated the incident command system on Sunday, as the province was included in areas placed by the state weather bureau under public storm Signal No. 1.

All rivers in Davao del Norte were still having normal water levels as of 11 a.m. Sunday, except Saug, which traverses Asuncion and Kapalong towns, with a 0.8 meter water level increase.

Some 321 families from flood-prone and landslide-susceptible areas in Compostela town in Compostela Valley Province have fled to the schools and the municipal gymnasium overnight, said Vice Mayor Reynaldo Castillo Jr.

Compostela Valley Gov. Arturo Uy has declared the cancellation of classes in all levels throughout the province on Monday, even as disaster authorities were in constant monitoring of water levels in major rivers there.

Policemen across the 11 municipalities were also put on alert for possible landslides and flooding, said Senior Superintendent Camilo Cascolan, Compostela Valley police chief.

In the Caraga Region, moderate to strong wind continued to lash out Surigao del Norte and Dinagat provinces since Tropical Depression Agaton began its onslaught Saturday evening.

In Surigao City, roads are strewn with uprooted trees and GI sheets.

Authorities reported no injury or casualty, though hundreds of families have been evacuated.

In Surigao del Norte alone, over 8,000 persons are in evacuation centers. Towns severely affected are Gigaquit, Tubod and Mainit, where residents fled because of the rising waters at Lake Mainit. Residents in these mining towns are also afraid of possible landslides. Hundreds of passengers are still stranded in Surigao City’s ports, and inter-island vessels remain grounded.

In Butuan City, two major evacuation centers were already overflowing with displaced residents.

“The Agusan National High School (ANHS) and Butuan Central Elementary School could no longer accept evacuees as it is full. The CDRRMC has newly activated evacuation centers in Alviola Elementary School and Ong Yiu Elementary School,” the PIA-Caraga said.

As of Sunday noon, at least 6,027 families were staying in evacuation centers in Butuan City.

Butuan mayor Ferdinand Amante also appealed to the public to help families displaced by the flooding.

“They need hot meals, which you can directly serve in the evacuation sites, good rice, canned goods other than sardines, mineral water especially for kids, mats and blankets, slightly used clothes, milk for children, coffee and sugar, and most of all your love and prayers to sustain them through the storm,” Amante said.

Classes in all levels are also suspended in the entire province of Agusan del Norte.

The NDRRMC said at least 52 roads and 21 bridges were still not passable in Western Mindanao, Northern Mindanao, Davao and Caraga, as of Sunday morning.

Landslides have rendered impassable the national highway in the mountainous winding road of Sibagat town in Agusan del Sur.

The overflowing of Wawa River in Bayugan City has also made it more difficult for motorists plying that route.

Disaster officials have advised the public it would be dangerous to cross the bridge against the strong current of the swollen river.

Fieldmen of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) tried to bulldoze a detour route in the landslide-damaged portions of the highway but their efforts proved futile since mud eroded by heavy rains kept rolling down and blocked the way. – Frinston Lim, Danilo Adorador III, Chris Panganiban and Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao


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