MisOr town residents flee ahead of ‘Odette’

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 14 Dec) – More than 330 families in Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental have been evacuated to safer ground after flood waters overflowed from an unfinished dike Monday night, officials said.

Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental. Map courtesy of Google

Gingoog City officials also suspended classes in all levels today due to heavy rains and inclement weather.

Misamis Oriental disaster controls chief Fernando Vincent Dy said the Philippine Coast Guard has already prevented boats with less than 200 tonnages from venturing out to sea.

Dy said the Philippine Coast Guard, however, allowed ferry services between Balingoan town in Misamis Oriental and Benoni town in Camiguin.

Cagayan de Oro officials, meanwhile, postponed its Bayanihan Bakunahan 2 for December 15, 16 and 17 and closed all its vaccination centers in anticipation of typhoon “Odette.”

Fearing a repeat of tropical storm “Sendong” 10 years ago, disaster officials went on full throttle in preparation for typhoon “Odette,” which is expected to make landfall in Caraga or eastern Visayas Thursday.

Tropical storm “Sendong” killed more than a thousand residents in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan when floodwaters inundated riverside communities on Dec. 16, 2011.

Dy said 300 families or more than 1,000 individuals from Barangay 24 and another 36 families from Barangay 1, all in Gingoog City, were evacuated on Monday night.

Dy said the affected residents are temporarily housed in their barangay gyms in the meantime.

He said they have alerted all municipal mayors to be on alert and have prepositioned heavy equipment in the towns of Balingasag and Opol.

“For now operations in the airport in the municipality of Laguindingan and the port of Cagayan de Oro are still normal,” Dy said.

Cagayan de Oro Disaster Risk Reduction Office Chief Nick Jabagat said they will monitor closely the rainfall in the nearby province of Bukidnon.

He said heavy rainfall in Bukidnon caused the floods that inundated the riverside villages of Carmen and Macasandig when “Sendong” struck in 2011.

Jabagat said they will issue mandatory evacuations once PAGASA issues notices. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)