CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/20 Jan) — At least 40 persons are believed trapped in an islet in Jasaan town, Misamis Oriental, after an attempt to rescue them Monday afternoon failed because of the rampaging waters of the Cabulig River.
Army Lt. Dandy Nelmida, information officer of the 58th Infantry Battalion said they tried to cross the Cabulig River using ropes and harness to get to the trapped residents in Purok 4, Barangay San Nicolas.
“The strong currents were simply too much for us. We managed to rescue only one person,” Nelmida said.
Nelmida said they were forced to stop their rescue attempt and wait for the rubber boats of the Philippine Coast Guard from Cagayan de Oro City.
Tropical depression “Agaton,” before it was downgraded by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) into a “low pressure area (LPA) dumped more than 79 millimeters of rain in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental Monday.
The torrential rains triggered flash floods and caused landslides in Anakan, Gingoog City blocking vehicular traffic between Cagayan de Oro and Butuan cities.
Two Butuan-bound buses full of passengers are still trapped in Anakan after four landslides blocked the highway Monday, Anakan resident Nemrose Lomongo said.
“The passengers are sleeping inside the buses because it is too slippery and dangerous for them to walk tonight,” Lomongo said.
Three persons were reported to have died in Gingoog City and Salay town in Misamis Oriental: Marlon Uy who drowned while swimming on Jan. 19 and Richard Bustamante and his son, Jerry, when a coconut tree fell on their hut in Barangay Casulog, Salay town Monday morning.
The Misamis Oriental Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council also reported the evacuation of more than 200 families or 1,500 persons from Barangay Kibanban in Balingasag town after the Musi-musi River burst its banks late Monday afternoon.
The Mambayaan Bridge in Balingasag town was also destroyed by rampaging flood waters, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.
“Agaton” also wrought havoc in Cagayan de Oro forcing the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) to order “Code Red” and implement the mandatory evacuation of residents in low-lying barangays.
The CDRRMC reported that some 1,556 families or 6,608 persons sought shelter in 33 evacuation centers as of 5pm Jan. 20.
Maricel Casino Rivera, city information officer, said “Code Red” will remain in effect on Tuesday if the city continues to experience intermittent rains.
Rivera said classes in preschool, elementary and high school both private and public shall remain suspended on Tuesday. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)