CAGAYAN DE ORO. (MindaNews / 18 December) — Vehicular traffic in Agusan del Sur ground to a halt Friday after portions of the Maharlika highway was inundated by two days non-stop rains brought about by Tropical Depression “Vicky.”
As of 7 p.m. Friday, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said in its Severe Weather Bulletin No. 6 issued at 8 p.m. that tropical depression “Vicky” was seen over the municipality of Esperanza, dumping heavy rains across the landlocked province of Agusan del Sur, moving north westward
At 10 p.m. PAGASA said ‘Vicky’ was estimated at 75 km West Northwest of El Salvador City, Misamis Oriental or 75 km East of Dipolog City, Zamboanga and had picked up speed, moving wester northwestward at 40 kilometers per hour.
In Rosario town, Agusan del Sur, the flood waters were so high in a black Ford Commuter van was filmed by a netizen being swept away from the road.
Brig. Gen. Allan Hambala, commander of the Army’s 401st Infantry Brigade, told MindaNews they still waiting for reports on the number of residents that are being rescued Friday night by Army troops.
Hambala said rescue operations were still ongoing as of 7pm Friday night
He said the soldiers had to wade through neck-high floodwaters to reach trapped residents in Rosario town.
Hambala said he lsot contact with his field rescue commander as communication lines in Rosario were cut off.
“I hope he and his company are taking shelter ona high ground because every report we received from the field is very bad,” Hambala told MindaNews in a telephone interview Friday night.
Local businessman Napoleon Mallari said flood waters hit hard barangays 2 and 3 in the poblacion area of San Francisco town.
Mallari said the water around the rotunda of San Francisco town was waist-deep stalling motorcycles and passing small vehicles.
He said he tried to go to Rosario town but stopped after the waters reached the hood of his pick-up.
Mallari later saw a black Ford Commuter van being swept off the road by the rampaging waters.
“It was a scary sight. My knees are still shaking until now,” Mallari told MindaNews.
NGO worker Juana Paula Dumaging said they began receiving reports of pleas for evacuation at around 3 p. m. Friday from residents living beside Gibong River in Prosperidad town.
Dumaging said small tributaries have dumped huge volumes of water in Gibong River resulting it to rise to dangerous levels.
Tropical depression Vicky skirted from its original path and barrelled through Agusan del Sur after making landfall in Davao de Oro at 2 a.m. Dec. 18.
It is expected to exit the Philippines on December 19 cutting through Palawan Island. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)