CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 27 Dec) – Flood waters overflowed the banks of Layawan River, spreading a wide path of destruction in the commercial district of Oroquieta City on Tuesday.
“The river rose by more than four feet and resulted in the closing down of the commercial district of Oroquieta City,” Misamis Occidental Governor Henry Oaminal was quoted by the Philippine Information Agency as saying.
Oaminal said the flood waters in Layawan River continued to overflow its banks for the second straight day since Christmas Day as torrential rains continue to batter Misamis Occidental.
In Misamis Oriental, local officials find it prudent not to send home more than 7,185 families or 38,410 individuals who have sought shelter in various evacuation camps in Gingoog City.
“We are constantly monitoring the weather and we think there will be more rains in the coming days,” said Fernando Vincent Dy Jr., head of the Misamis Oriental Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the shear line, or the point where warm and cold air meet, will continue to dump more rains over Palawan, Visayas and Mindanao in the following days.
Oaminal said the death toll in the Misamis Occidental floods has climb to seven even as heavy rains continue to batter Oroquieta City and four municipalities – Aloran, Jimenez, Tudela and Clarin.
“All of our flood control system has collapsed. We did not expect so much rain,” the governor said.
Oaminal said the only good news is that the highway linking Ozamiz and Oroquieta cities is now passable to all types of vehicles as of 8 a.m. Tuesday.
Shaina Nagtalon, of the Philippine Information Agency in Misamis Occidental, said communication is down in Oroquieta City and the towns of Aloran, Clarin, Tudela, and Jimenez.
In Gingoog City, an 18-year-old farmer was reported to have drowned on Christmas Day and two more dead were reported drowned in Bukidnon.
Gilbert Conde, Office of Civil Defense assistant director, said this brings the number of fatalities in Region 10 to 10.
Conde said the number of evacuees in Region 10 totaled to 14,456 families or 67,733 individuals.
He said 2,130 families or 9,216 individuals were from Oroquieta City and the municipalities of Aloran, Jimenez, Tudela, and Clarin.
Dy said Gingoog City has the biggest number of evacuees with 7,815 families or 38,410 individuals staying in Lugod gym and various evacuation centers.
He said local officials found it prudent not to send the evacuees back home because of the bad weather.
“We think the weather would still be bad until the New Year. It is better to hold the families than rescuing them again,” Dy said.
Meanwhile, the local government of Cagayan de Oro sent a relief convoy of seven vehicles, including an ambulance, for Misamis Occidental.
Cagayan de Oro information officer Ivy Guantero said the convoy vehicles are bringing food packs consisting of rice, noodles, water, and sardines. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)