BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/05 January) — Nine persons were killed while two others were missing following massive flashfloods spawned by heavy rains since Sunday that hit 364 villages in 36 towns in Caraga Region’s four provinces and has affected close to 400,000 people.
Reports said at least 388, 957 people were affected by massive flooding in 23 barangays in three towns of Surigao del Norte; 114 barangays in 16 towns of Surigao del Sur; 26 barangays in three towns of Agusan del Norte and 120 barangays in 14 towns of Agusan del Sur.
Also affected were 59 barangays in Butuan City and five barangays in Surigao City.
Four persons were killed and one person was reported missing in Agusan del Sur, according to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) in a 10 pm report yesterday.
The victims who died were identified as Manuel Madelo of Patin-ay, Prosperidad town; Bryl Jake Mondejar of San Luis town; Caesar Aquilam and Junmark Castro, both residents of Sibagat town.
Except for Madelo who was electrocuted when he accidentally touched a live wire hanging from an electric post around 1:30 pm Monday, all the victims died by drowning. Madelo and six companions went fishing using a battery-operated electric rod near the flooded government-owned fishpond.
Paning Poras of Prosperidad was reported missing.
A report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council identified the victim from Patin-ay as Rogelio Madelo. It also named Dondie Carl Bolante of Barangay Magsaysay, Prosperidad as another victim of drowning.
NDRRMC report also named Michael Rodrigo Otero of Purok 4, Libertad, Bunawan, Agusan del Sur as one of the victims of drowning.
Aldeberan Mordeno, Butuan City social welfare and development chief, said two persons were killed in a landslide in Barangay Maibu. She identified the victims as Dioscoro Albiro Jr. and Shielo Carrido, both residents of the same barangay.
A six-year old girl, Cristy Jane Celocia of Las Nieves town, died by drowning after the jeep she riding skidded off the road and she was thrown out into a flooded rice field, in Purok 3, Barangay Dankias here on Monday morning.
A police report said the passenger jeep bound for Butuan from Las Nieves town in Agusan del Norte was slowly negotiating the flooded road but overtook another vehicle.
In Bislig City in Surigao del Sur, one person drowned at a beach resort Sunday. Roberto Rebasora, whose body was recovered Monday, apparently went swimming despite warnings of big waves whipped by strong winds and heavy rains, according to a police report.
In Surigao del Norte, Roberto Dalangin, of Barangay Cawilan, Tubod town, was declared missing by his family since January 3, a police report said.
Dalangin was last seen in Sitio Tugonan, Barangay Mabini, Surigao City trying to retrieve some falcata logs floating along the river but was swept away by strong currents.
According to the Agusan del Sur PDRRMC , 11,961 people sought higher grounds when the Agusan River overflowed, flooding the towns of San Francisco, Prosperidad, Talacogon, San Luis, La Paz, Veruela, Bunawan, Sta. Josefa, Loreto , Bayugan, Rosario, Trento, Esperanza and Sibagat.
The PDRRMC listed at least 155, 475 people who were affected by flashfloods. They were housed in 17 evacuation centers in their respective municipalities, but many have already returned home, the report added.
The Philippine Information Agency in the province said that at the onset of the floods, eight houses were totally damaged and 10 others were partially damaged. Damage was placed at P140,000.
Damage to infrastructure in Agusan del Sur reached an estimated P4.2 million while damage to agriculture was placed at P35.1 million with rice fields as the most affected.
Butuan City Vice Mayor Lawrence Fortun said the city was placed under a state of calamity on Jan. 4, after receiving a certified report that 59 barangays were under floodwaters affecting 30,258 people.
Fortun said the city agriculture office initially placed damage to crops at P16 million and to infrastructure at P10.6 million.
“Under the state of calamity, those affected barangays can now access and use their own calamity funds for immediate response to the needs of their respective affected constituents,” he said.
The city social welfare and development office reported that of the 30,258 displaced residents, 4,526 temporarily took shelter in 20 evacuation centers, mostly school buildings in 59 barangays.
Mordeno said they initially distributed on Tuesday a total of 325 packs of assorted goods and medicines to 325 families at the evacuation centers.
Oliver Vicente, Barangay Moan kagawad, said the CSWD distributed at least three kilos of rice, ¼ kilo of sugar, three cans of sardines and a pack of instant coffee to each of 191 families.
The Surigao del Norte PDRRMC had endorsed a resolution asking the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to declare the province under state of calamity.
An initial report submitted to the SP by the PDRRMC placed the damage to infrastructures at P9.4 million. It said that most of the rice fields were still flooded but the agriculture office had not received yet any report from their field offices.
PDRRMC also reported that some portions of Surigao City were flooded when the Kinabutan River overflowed. It said that Malimono town was impassable after Jubgan Bridge was destroyed.
In Tagana-an town, floodwaters as high as two meters had submerged poblacion barangays affecting 1,200 families.
Rosemarie Catelo , Surigao del Norte social welfare and development officer, reported that Barangays Azucena, Banban and Himamaug in Tagana-an were severely affected by the floods. She said 210 families have fled their homes and took refuge at evacuation centers.
Flashfloods also hit 200 families of Barangays Magsaysay and Ipil in Placer town, according to the PIA-Surigao del Note.
In Surigao del Sur, Governor Johnny Pimentel had asked the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to declare the province under a state of calamity. (Alden Pantaleon/MindaNews)