Camiguin flash floods displace 500 families

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/27 July)- Heavy rains caused by a Low Pressure Area (LPA) over the Visayas triggered heavy flooding in four towns in Camiguin province Thursday night, displacing at least 552 families, officials said today.

Maj. Eugene Osias, spokesperson of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said that provincial officials and local disaster rescue teams were kept busy overnight in bringing the affected residents to the municipal gymnasiums in Mahinog, Guinsiliban, Sagay and Catarman towns.

Barangay Chair Nilo Yangco of Poblacion, Sagay town, said the water started trickling into his village at around 8 p.m. Thursday night.

“The rain was not heavy yet. It even stopped for a while. Two hours later, it rained heavily and the deluge of water came crashing from the mountains,” Yangco narrated.

He said the town’s rescue team and barangay officials fought fast currents and waist-deep flood waters to bring the affected residents to the gym and a chapel.

Yangco said a house located in the lower portion of Barangay Poblacion was swept away by the water.

Camiguin Gov. Jesus Jurdin Romualdo declared the suspension of classes in all schools in Camiguin Friday morning.

The Philippine Coast Guard warned all fishermen in Camiguin and nearby province of Misamis Oriental to refrain from going out to the sea.

Ensign Macy Abadlla, information officer of the Philippine Coast Guard in Cagayan de Oro, said they have allowed the passage of all ferryboats from Camiguin to Balingoan town in Misamis Oriental.

Abadilla said ferry service between Cagayan de Oro and Cebu is also normal.

“This is still an LPA so boats with bigger sizes can still go out to the sea,” she said.

As of 11:27 a.m. Friday, the Office of Civil Defense Region10 said the flash floods have affected 552 families in the four towns.

It did not report any fatality.

Food assistance has also been extended to the flood victims, according to OCD 10, which oversees the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council.

The floods have reportedly rendered the Alanginan bridge in Sagay town impassable to vehicles.

But Yangco said that traffic around Camiguin Island was not affected because vehicles were rerouted to the new bridge in the town.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) in Mindanao forecasted that weather will improve on Sunday.

Mario Guya, PAGASA weather analyst, said that an LPA was sighted 470 kilometers east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.

“That’s the reason why there was a heavy rain yesterday (July 26). We can still experience some rainfall tomorrow (July 28), but based on numerical prediction, good weather is expected on Sunday,” he said. (Froilan Gallardo with reports from Nef Luczon/MindaNews)