‘Seniang’ leaves 3 people dead, displaces thousands in northern Mindanao

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CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews/30 December) — Three persons, including a seven-year-old girl in Bukidnon who went out from their house to look for her father, were killed as tropical storm Seniang slammed northern Mindanao on Monday.

Office of Civil Defense-10 information officer Titus Velez said Kiarah Kristy B. Tangcuran drowned while trying to cross a flooded creek to look for her father in Sitio San Antonio, Impasugong town in Bukidnon.

In Misamis Oriental, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council said 50-year-old Eddie Bottela, a farmer, also went out of his house to look for his cow on Monday. But the Tagoloan River spilled into its banks and he drowned in the floodwater.

“These are deaths that could have been avoided if they only listened to the warnings aired by agencies. Their deaths are very regrettable,” Velez said.

Teddy Sabugaa, chief of the Cagayan de Oro Social Welfare Department said 50-year-old Ruben Estupa was driving his Suzuki multicab with his children when a tree fell on the vehicle in Purok 7, Upper Puerto, this city last Monday.

Sabugaa said Estupa was rushed to a hospital in Barangay Puerto but attending doctors pronounced him dead on arrival.

BANGUS HARVEST. Residents of Barangay Banzon, Jasaan town in Misamis Oriental harvest bangus on Dec. 30, the morning after tropical storm Seniang destroyed the fish pens in neighboring towns. MindaNews photo by Froilan Gallardo
BANGUS HARVEST. Residents of Barangay Banzon, Jasaan town in Misamis Oriental harvest bangus on Dec. 30, the morning after tropical storm Seniang destroyed the fish pens in neighboring towns. MindaNews photo by Froilan Gallardo

Gerardo Sabal of the Misamis Oriental PDRRMC said the 60 mountaineers who were trapped in Mt. Lumot in Claveria town at the height of Seniang were able to safely get out Tuesday morning.

Sabal said the mountaineers, 28 of whom were women, spent a cold night in Mt. Lumot as they could not cross Cevoleg River which had overflowed.

The mountaineers, who came from Cebu, General Santos, Iligan , Cagayan de Oro and Davao cities were trying to traverse from the 2,320-meter Mt. Lumot to Mt. Sumagaya in their annual climb called “Kamrass 8” organized by Timoga Mountainers of Iligan.

The Department of Public Works and Highways rushed heavy equipment Tuesday afternoon to repair the bridge over Balatukan River in Barangay Mambayaan in Balingasag town which tilted to its side after floodwater destroyed its foundation.

Engr. Doroteo Laguna, of DPWH Misamis Oriental said retrofitting the bridge could take 40 days.

“This bridge can still be fixed. It can be retrofitted to fix the tilt,” Laguna said.

He said DPWH Region 10 has allotted P20 million for the 40-day repair work which was contracted to UKC Builders of Cagayan de Oro.

He said the DPWH advised the contractor to bring a 100-ton industrial jack to lift the damaged portion of the bridge.

In the meantime, commuters have to walk and traders have to hire local porters to bring their goods across the bridge.

Laguna said only motorcycles are allowed to use the bridge.

Misamis Oriental PDRRMC chief Edmundo Pacamalan Jr. said they are offering an alternative route – the 50-kilometer road from Gingoog City to Claveria and down to Villanueva, Misamis Oriental.

He said only five kilometers of that road was unpaved but usable because it was already covered with sand and gravel.

“Motorists can use that until the Mambayaan Bridge is fix. We are also looking for an alternative route that requires the vehicles to go down the Balatukan River,” Pacamalan said.

In Jasaan town residents brought fish nets for the bangus that washed near their beaches. They said the bangus came from fish pens that were destroyed in nearby Villanueva and Balingasag towns.

Pacamalan said they estimated the losses to infrastructure and agriculture at P400 million.

He said 11,095 families or 35,185 persons were evacuated from 17 towns in Eastern Misamis Oriental.

The Cagayan de Oro DRRMC said at least 2,593 families or 11,403 persons were brought to the safety of evacuation centers where they spent the night on Monday.

Sabugaa said they decided to order the forced evacuation when the water level at Cagayan River rose to five meters Monday.

He said most of the evacuees went home Tuesday morning after the sun came out over the city. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)

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