Raw report says 30 killed in Compostela
- Published on Tuesday, 04 December 2012 23:00
- Written by VICTOR REYES
By A Web design Company
TYPHOON “Pablo” has claimed four lives and displaced over 50,000 persons, based on official figures given by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council yesterday.
The military reported five more fatalities.
There were reports that at least 30 persons died yesterday from landslides and flashfloods in New Bataan town, Compostela Valley. But the Office of Civil Defense-Davao region said it has yet to confirm the reports.
“We heard 30, some are saying 20 … We are expecting that there are going to be many casualties but as to the number, we cannot confirm yet,” Liza Mazo, head of the OCD-Davao, said in an interview last night.
Asked why they were expecting many casualties, Mazo said: “Because there are landslides, flashfloods. That’s our worst (case) scenario.”
Benito Ramos, NDRRMC executive director, told a radio interview that reports being attributed to Compostela Valley Gov. Arthur Uy about the 30 dead are “raw.”
Based on the official figures of the NDRRMC, three of the four fatalities are from Davao Oriental, Misamis Occidental and Siquijor. They died after being hit by fallen coconut trees.
The fourth, an Army sergeant, died in a landslide in New Bataan town in Compostela Valley.
The military said six people died in Davao Oriental.
1Lt. Christy Isis Achanzar, public affairs officer of the Army’s 701st Brigade based in Davao Oriental, said three of the fatalities were from Caraga town while the rest were from Taragona, Manay and Banganga towns.
Four were reported missing in Banay-banay town, Anchanzar also said.
The Ninoy Aquino International Airport tallied 134 flight cancellations.
Pablo slightly weakened after it made landfall in Banganga town, Davao Oriental at 4:40 a.m. yesterday.
From 175 kph Monday, Pablo’s strength was down to 160 kph yesterday afternoon. Its gustiness also decreased to 195 kph from 210 kph.
Its diameter further went down to 500 km from 600 km Monday.
Expected rainfall is 10 to 18 millimeters per hour, which is still classified as “heavy to intense.”
As of 6 p.m. yesterday, the eye of the typhoon was 30 km southwest of Dumaguete City.
If Pablo maintains its speed, it will make a second landfall this morning in northern Palawan, said weather forecaster Bernie de Leon.
It is expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility Thursday evening or Friday morning.
Thirteen areas were under storm signal No. 3 as of 6 p.m. These are Northern Palawan including the Calamian Group of Islands, Bohol, Siquijor, Southern Cebu, Negros Oriental, Southern Negros Occidental, Iloilo, Guimaras, Antique, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, and Zamboanga del Norte.
Under signal No. 2 were the rest of Palawan, Aklan, Capiz, the rest of Cebu including Camotes Island, the rest of Negros Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Agusan del Norte, Bukidnon, Lanao del Sur, Zamboanga del Sur including Sibugay and Camiguin.
Under signal No. 1 were Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Leyte including southern Biliran, Southern Leyte, Surigao del Norte including Siargao Island, Surigao del Sur, Dinagat, Agusan del Sur, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, North Cotabato, and Maguindanao.
The military’s Eastern Mindanao Command said 20 civilians were missing from the New Bataan flooding.
The flashflood occurred in Barangay Andap, said Navy Capt. Severino Vicente David, Eastmincom deputy commander.
David said a soldier from the 66th Infantry Battalion died while an officer was wounded in the flashflood. The soldiers are assigned to a detachment that was also affected by the flashflood.
Maj. Gen. Ariel Bernardo, commander of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said six soldiers are missing as a result of the flashflood. “They have a temporary patrol base there and they were victimized by the flashflood. We have six soldiers missing, one soldier was recovered dead and a lieutenant was injured.”
Bernardo said they received reports of civilian casualties but they are subject to validation. “We are trying to reach out because roads to the area are unpassable…We are organizing rescue teams,” he said.
Lt. Col. Edgardo de Leon, operations officer of the Eastmincom, said of the about 20 civilians who were missing, “They were reportedly washed out by the flood…It was witnessed by the troops. They witnessed the incident and came out with an estimated number.”
De Leon said helicopters could not be sent to the area because of strong winds and heavy rains. He said they attempted to send military vehicles but the roads are blocked by debris, hampering the rescue operations.
“Our soldiers are trying to penetrate the area by foot,” he said.
“A river overflowed, causing the flashflood…No helicopter can go to the area because of bad weather…Our vehicles could not also go to the area because the roads are not passable,” he said.
The NDRRMC said as of noon yesterday, at least 11,000 families or some 53,400 persons from Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Davao region and Caraga region are housed in 94 evacuation centers.
Power outages were experienced in Tandag, Bislig, Hinatuan, Barobo and Lingig towns in Surigao del Sur, Carmen town in Agusan del Norte, and Pilar town in Surigao del Norte.
“To date, erratic communication is being experienced in Pilar, Surigao del Nore due to damaged cell sites,” said Ramos.
In Agusan del Sur, Ramos said the national road junction in Pulang Lupa-Sta Josefa road in Sta Isabel village in Sta Josefa town is “hardly passable due to damaged roads due to heavy rains.”
OCD-Northern Mindanao director Ana Caneda said Pablo was wreaking havoc in Cagayan de Oro City as of 2 p.m.
In Compostela Valley, a gold-mining province, fierce wind and rain forced a wall of mud and boulders to cascade down on a house, killing three children. Their bodies were wrapped in blankets by their grieving relatives and placed on a basketball court in Maparat village. – With Angela Lopez de Leon and AP