Figures from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) regional office here said at least 68,696 people were forced out of their homes when flashfloods hit 341 barangays in 34 towns and four cities in the region last week.
Caraga comprises the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur and the cities therein.
As of January 16, the DSWD said at least 10,674 people were staying in 96 evacuation centers in the region. Other evacuees, however, have returned home after the flood subsided.
Killed were Veronica Pipoy, 51, resident of Cagdianao in Dinagat Islands; Rolando Yamyamin, 31, of Barangay Aurora in Surigao City; Rosejen Tejero, 27, Barangay Mancarago in Bislig City; Diosdado Pagiding, 51, of barangay Mancarago in Bislig City; Zacarias Gales, 33, of Barangay Pisaan in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur; Jacinta Villanueva, 84, of Barangay Osmena, Bayugan City; Elmo Villa, 44, of Barangay Tabon-tabon in Sibagat, Agusan del Sur and a still unidentified person in Trento, Agusan del Sur.
Ana Semacio, head of the DSWD’s Disaster Response, Operations, Monitoring and Information Center, told MindaNews that Pipoy drowned when their boat capsized due to stormy seas in Cagdianao, Dinagat Islands. Yamyamin also drowned while fishing in Surigao City, she said.
Tejero and Pagiding were killed in a landslide in Barangay Cumawas, Bislig City on Jan. 15 as they were riding a tricycle.
Ferdinand Perez, head of Agusan del Sur’s provincial information office, said Gales’ body was found floating in the creek of Managbay in San Francisco town on Jan. 15, He said the victim was reportedly swept away by strong current on Wednesday, while crossing the swollen water at the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) dam in Barangay Alegria, eight kilometers from San Francisco.
Perez said Villanueva drowned at the height of the floods in Barangay Osmena in Bayugan City while an unidentified body was fished out at Barangay Taglubog in Trento on Thursday.
He said Villar died of thoracic compression after he was hit at the head by falling coconut fruit caused by strong winds.
Disaster officials said rescue teams are still looking for Marian Putong, 33, resident of Barangay Paniktikan in Carrascal, Surigao del Sur and certain Elmo Goliat of Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte.
Caraga’s Office of Civil Defense here said at least 13 towns in Agusan del Sur were affected by floods, eight towns in Agusan del Norte, four in Surigao del Norte, four in Surigao del Sur and five in Province of Dinagat Islands including cities of Butuan, Surigao, Bayugan, Tandag and Bislig.
The report said floods destroyed 249 houses in Surigao del Norte, 190 in Agusan del Norte, 23 in Surigao del Sur and nine in Agusan del Sur.
Reports from Agusan del Sur said some 4,725 people evacuated when the Agusan River overflowed
following continuous rains since Saturday.
The Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) reported that of the 160 barangays affected by flashfloods, 20 are still under water.
Amado Gomez, assistant head of the PDCC, said at least 157,661 people were affected by floods but most of them chose to stay in their homes. He said some 5,949 people stayed at the evacuation centers.
Gomez said local officials declared a state of calamity in towns of Veruela, Prosperidad, Sta.Josefa, Trento, Rosario, Sibagat and San Francisco.
Agusan del Sur’s PDCC estimated damage to agriculture and infrastructure at P116.9 million.
Surigao City Mayor Alfonso Casurra said Barangay San Juan was worst hit by floods and big waves. Casurra estimated the damage to agriculture and infrastructure at P7.6 million.
The City’s disaster coordinating council said floods destroyed 14 houses while 52 others were partially damage in San Juan, a coastal barangay.
Reports from the Surigao del Norte placed the damage to crops in towns of Burgos, Del Carmen, Pilar, San Benito, San Isidro and Sta. Monica at P3.4 million.
Disaster officials estimated the damage on infrastructure in Libjo town in Dinagat Island at P2.1 million. (Alden Pantaleon/MindaNews)