More rains this year in Bukidnon; Valencia landslide death toll climbs to 5

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/05 July) – Bukidnon received a higher amount of rainfall in May and June this year compared to the average rainfall the province had in the last 30 years, the local office of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration on Monday said.

In May, total rainfall was 421.2 millimeters while the average for the same month during the last 30 years was only 231.1 mm. In June, total rainfall was 379.9 mm while the average for the same month in the last 30 years was 316.9 mm or 63 mm less, Anianita Fortich, chief meteorological officer of Pagasa-Bukidnon said.

Although the La Nina has been over, the rainy season is still here and is bringing more than the normal amount of rainfall, she said.

Fortich said it was heavy rains that caused the landslides Sunday and Monday in Barangay Lumbayao in Valencia City as the soil may have loosened particularly in mountains that have little vegetation.

“Although there may be other factors that caused the landslides, heavy rains brought by the ICTZ (inter-tropical convergent zone) since the middle of May this year may have increased the risk of landslides,” she said.

She added that they have been constantly issuing flood and landslide warnings because of the relatively heavier rains this year.

As per the weather models Pagasa is using, the ICTZ may last until July 8 this year, she said.

Meanwhile, the death toll in the landslide in Lumbayao had climbed to five as of 9pm last night, according to Arsenio Alagenio, provincial head of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

One of the additional two fatalities was identified as Reynante Sadsad, husband of Sheryl Sadsad, another victim whose body was retrieved yesterday afternoon, Alagenio said.

Reynante died at the provincial hospital in San Fernando town, he added.

Alagenio said the Valencia City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council promised to give P10,000 to each family of the victims.

The landslide, which started around 6pm Sunday in sitio Hangaron, Lumbayao forced commuters from Valencia and San Fernando to transfer to another vehicle upon reaching the area.

Witnesses said some 15 to 20 commuters were trapped Monday when more soil apparently loosened by a downpour since Sunday dropped from one side of the national highway. (BenCyrus G. Ellorin with a report from H. Marcos C. Mordeno/MindaNews)