CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 26 December) – Two persons were killed by a landslide while at least 45,000 residents spent Christmas Day in evacuation centers due to flash floods spawned by heavy rains in the two Misamis provinces in Northern Mindanao (Region 10) on Sunday.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development in Region 10 said 9,839 families or 45,883 persons were evacuated from 73 barangays in Misamis Oriental and Misamis Occidental provinces.
Hardest hit by the flooding was Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental, where 6,908 families or 34,081 individuals were evacuated by Army and police rescue teams on the eve of Christmas Day, according to a report by the Philippine Army’s 58th Infantry Battalion.
Mayor Erick Cañosa and the city council declared Gingoog under a state of calamity on Sunday after flash floods affected 19 of its 79 barangays.
Most of the affected residents stayed at the Lugod Gym in downtown Gingoog City.
The Office of Civil Defense Region 10 (OCD-10) said 705 families or 1,935 persons were evacuated in Gingoog City and the towns of Medina, Talisayan and Balingoan on Christmas Day.
Lt. Colonel Christian Uy, commander of the Army’s 58th Infantry Battalion, said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) closed the Gingoog City-Claveria-Villanueva road early Sunday after several landslides and fallen trees were reported by residents.
“It was ordered closed as early as 5 a.m. Sunday and partially opened after lunch,” Uy said.
Uy said Army soldiers helped DPWH personnel clear the vital highway linking the cities of Gingoog and Cagayan de Oro.
In Misamis Occidental, Police Lt. Colonel Harvey Abellanosa, commander of the 1st Provincial Mobile Force, said Mario Sambiog, 70, and his daughter Elenita, 43, were killed after a landslide hit hinterland Barangay Mialen, Oroquieta City on Christmas Eve.
Abellanosa said rescuers found it difficult to reach the village after the Toliyok Bridge, which links it to Oroquieta City, collapsed following a flash flood.
The OCD-10 said 505 families were evacuated as flash floods swept the towns of Sinacaban and Jimenez.
An updated report posted by the Philippine Information Agency on Sunday afternoon said 802 families or 3,599 individuals were evacuated in Jimenez town.
Misamis Occidental Gov. Henry Oaminal ordered the forced evacuation of residents living beside creeks and rivers, which he described as “already in critical level” Sunday.
Oaminal said the Aquamarine Park in Sinacaban town was inundated by the waters that overflowed from a river.
He said eight houses in Clarin town were swept away and five villages were in danger of rising floods.
“Please go with our rescuers. This is for your safety,” Oaminal said. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)