16-month old boy drowns; hundreds still in evacuation centers due to floods

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 22 January) –  A 16-month old boy drowned in Compostela Valley while hundreds of families are still in evacuation centers in the Pablo-stricken provinces of Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley as rains brought about by the “tailend of a cold front” triggered floods and landslides since Saturday night.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) in Compostela Valley said 16-month old Lord Anthony Gallarde of Purok 10,  Barangay Poblacion in Compostela town drowned on January 20.

PDRMMC officer Raul Villocino told MindaNews the boy’s mother was getting some clothes when the baby fell from the house into the floodwaters.

The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) in its 5 a.m. advisory Tuesday said the “Davao region and Soccsksargen will experience cloudy skies with moderate to heavy rainshowers and thunderstorms which may trigger flashfloods and landslides” while the rest of Mindanao will have light to moderate rainshowers or thunderstorms.

Davao region comprises Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and the cities of Davao, Digos, Panabo, Samal, Tagum and Mati while Southwestern Mindanao or Region 12, also refered to as “Soccsksargen” comprises South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Flooding incidents displaced some 40,000 persons in Davao City on Sunday but no one was reported killed.

In Compostela Valley province, the PDRMMC report said that as 9:24 a.m., only 441 families out of the 2,143 families in six towns who evacuated on January 20 have remained in evacuation centers: 193 in New Bataan, 159 in the poblacion of Monkayo, 52 in Montevista and 37 in Nabunturan. The  925 families who fled their villages in Maco and 777 families in Compostela town have returned home.

In Maragusan town also in Compostela Valley, Willy Lindong, Municipal DRRMC officer said the Maragusan-Mati road is “not passable due to landslides.”

In New Bataan town, Mayor Lorenzo Balbin ordered the suspension of classes in all levels Tuesday due to the floods.

New Bataan posted the highest death toll among the areas hit by typhoon Pablo on Dec. 4 with 436 dead mostly due to flashfloods and debris flow.

Lindong also told MindaNews that “as of this morning, two buses from Maragusan were stranded at Sitio Surigaonon, Camanlangan due to overflow of creeks.”

Camanlangan is on the Nabunturan-Maragusan highway.

In Davao del Norte, the Philippine Information Agency reported that 37,372 families were affected by the floods in at least six towns. The report said 17,387 families evacuated.

As of 5 p.m. January 21, the PIA said, floods were reported in 15 barangays of Carmen, five each in Asuncion and Dujali, eight in Kapalong, nine in Sto. Tomas, 12 in New Corella and 10 in Tagum City.

It said the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) has sent 10,753 family packs consisting of 15 kilos of rice, eight instant cup noodles, four cans of beef loaf, eight cans of sardines and a dozen coffee in sachet.

In Davao Oriental, Governor Corazon Malanyaon  told MindaNews in a telephone interview at 11 a.m.that residents who moved to safer grounds in their respective towns on Saturday and Sunday have remained where they are.

In Cateel, also in Davao Oriental, Fr. Nestor Morata, parish priest, said residents were fidgety Monday night as reports were being passed around that strong winds would hit the town by midnight.

Cateel town was badly battered by Typhoon Pablo on December 4.

At around 11 p.m. Monday, Morata sent a text message to MindaNews that there was a heavy downpour again since 8 p.m. “Moundang kadali den mokusog na pud. Naunsa na ni. Wala pa mi karecoer sa trauma sa Pablo, nia na pud baha” (The rain stops for a followed by a heavy downpour. What is happening? We haven’t recovered from the trauma of Pablo, now the floods are here), he said. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)