‘Pablo’ leaves Mindanao with at least 43 dead, six missing

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/05 December) –  Typhoon  ‘Pablo’ slammed into Mindanao’s Baganga, Davao Oriental and moved on to the Compostela Valley  and Agusan del Sur area and on to Bukidnon, leaving a wide swath of destruction but fewer deaths due to massive information, preemptive evacuations and risk reduction practices employed by local government units.

Undersecretary Benito Ramos, executive directr4o of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council  (NDRRMC) in an interview over ABS-CBN at 6 a.m. December 5 said  43 persons have been confirmed dead  but unlike last year’s Typhoon Sendong, there were “zero casualties in Cagayan de Oro City.”

Last year, at least 1,200 persons were killed in Cagayan and Iligan cities and portions of Bukidnon when Typhoon Sendong slammed into these areas. on December 16 and 17.

As of 5 a.m. December 5, only four provinces out of 26 Mindanao provinces  – Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga del Norte, and Camiguin –  have remained under storm warning signal,  but only under Signal 1, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said in its 5 a.m. December 5 advisory .

Twenty-four hours earlier, only Tawi-tawi and Sulu out of  26 provinces in Mindanao were not placed under storm warning signal. Seventeen provinces were placed under storm warning signal 3, four under signal 2 and three under signal 1.

The NDRRMC’s website in its 6 pm December 4 update listed only four persons who were reported dead due to fallen trees: Jegger Gomonit, 31, from Brgy Sumasap, Panaon, Misamis

Occidental;  Erlinda Balante, 60, from Manay, Davao Oriental;  Elberto Daniel, 23, from Lazi Siquijor and Sgt Olivarez, from the Temporary Command Post, Charlie Company in Brgy Andap, New Bataan, Compostela Valley, due to drowning.

As of 5 p.m. December 4, Brig. Gen. Ariel Bernardo told MindaNews they had six soldiers who were reported missing in New Bataan due to flash floods.

MindaNews reported  Tuesday that a six-year old boy, Ronel Brandares, was killed in  Valencia City when hit by a fallen coconut tree.

Baganga in Davao Oriental, where Pablo made landfall at 4:45 a.m. December 4, remains isolated as bridges leading to the area were destroyed.

The NDRRMC also reported that the Gov. Teodoro Palma Gil Bridge in Caraga, Davao Oriental was rendered impassable “due to collapsed 5 spans” while Daang Maharlika, Brgy Linda, Nabunturan, Compostela Valley was reported closed due to landslides.

In Davao del Norte, Sonio Sanchez,  head of the of the PDRRMC (Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) , said Tuesday they had cleared the national highway of toppled down trees and power lines.

Like Cagayan de Oro city, no casualties were reported in Davao del Norte which was placed under storm signal 2.

But they were still assessing damages to  banana plants, rice and other corn crops. Davao del Norte has several banana plantations.

“We are currently on standby, watching out for possible flooding,” he said.

Residents from vulnerable areas were evacuated to designated gyms and centers on Monday, a day before Pablo’s expected landfall.

In Davao City, no casualties were reported but City DRRMC reported fallen trees and electric posts, eight storm surges, two trapped in fish cages, a house on fire, and a grounded electric post.

Affected by a storm surge were 200 families in Daliao in Toril, six families in Inabanga, Bunawan, and five families in Lizada, while there is no person hurt nor property damaged at Bucana in Lasang, and Sitio Seaside in Bago Aplaya.

Three houses were damaged in Muslim Village, Purok 60 in Talomo, a house with blown roof in Southbay, Agdao, and roofs were blown away of some houses in Talomo coastal areas.

Twelve persons were trapped in fish cages in Punta Dumalag, Matina Aplaya and Tibungco.

Ten fishermen in Punta Dumalag, Matina Aplaya who were trapped in fish cages called up Coast Guard and were rescued by Royal Blood Rescue Team. Two children and their father were also trapped in a fish cage in Tibungco, but were rescued by the TRAMBOC Search and Rescue Group here.

In Surigao City,  electricity went off at 10 a.m. Tuesday  “due to transient faults caused by the strong winds,” Danilo Escalante, general manager of the Surigao del Norte Electric Cooperative (SURNECO) said.

Water distribution also stopped  around the same time as the power outage.

Surigao del Norte Vice Governor Carlos Egay, Jr.,  OIC of the PDRRMC said  enforced evacuation was done in Pilar and Dapa in Siargao Island and Socorro in Bucas Grande Island.

A hundred and ninety eight families or 1,188 persons including women and children had evacuated to the city gymnasium since Monday afternoon.

As of 9:30 this morning, some residents in Brgy. Sabang III complained they had not eaten their breakfast  except for the pandesal ration this morning.

But Alicia Gimena, city gym in-charge, said the City Social Welfare went to the gym early morning today to distribute bread as breakfast for the evacuees and left a few minutes later.

 “No damage has been reported yet. But we are not advising anyone (evacuees) to go home while rains continue because this is what we fear most,”  Egay said.

As  of 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, the PDRRMC has reported six houses made of light materials were totally damaged in Dapa, Siargao Island; 280 houses also in Siargao Island; one house in Mainit, Surigao del Norte and a reported landslide in Brgy. Oslao, San Francisco in Surigao del Norte.

The CSWD is still gathering reports from the field, Madlos said. But she added that so far, they have not received reports on any untoward incident in the city’s 21 island barangays. (Vanessa Almeda, Lorie Ann Cascaro, Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)