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8 dead in Provident Village, Marikina City

September 27, 2009 2:58pm
Hundreds of residents of Provident Village in Marikina City sat atop their muddied rooftops or waved frantically from top floor windows, enduring thirst and hunger for nearly 24 hours, before they were rescued on Sunday morning.

Others, however, were not as fortunate. GMA News’ Ian Cruz reported that as of Sunday noon, eight people had been found dead in the village. The bodies of two children and six adults were left by the roadside awaiting identification by family members who had been prevented by the flood from reaching them in time. Trucks of the Philippine National Police finally plowed through subsiding waters at mid morning today.

Among those rescued were actress Cristine Reyes and her family, who were stranded for almost 18 hours before being plucked from their roof. Relatives and fellow actor Richard Gutierrez used water sports equipment to traverse the flood and bring the Reyes family to safety, according to a Twitter update from Richard’s sister, actress Ruffa Gutierrez.

The ordeal of the residents in low-lying Provident Village, one of the worst-hit areas in the metropolis, began Saturday with the torrential rains brought by tropical storm ‘Ondoy’. The gated village, which is surrounded by the Marikina River, suffered terribly as waters swelled to epic proportions.

Residents of the village tried all means of communication to call for help and bring attention to their situation since Saturday. Aside from conventional phone calls and text messages, residents asked their relatives and friends to use social networking sites like Facebook to spread the news about their predicament.

Members of the Philippine Coast Guard, Navy, and the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force were deployed to the scene early Sunday to help in the evacuation of residents. However, some people refused to be rescued for personal reasons. Red Cross volunteers assisted the authorities in their operations.

Television footage showed mounds of garbage tangled with electric cables, demonstrating the full extent of the flood. Cars were piled on top of each other because of the strong current of the flood waters.

Although the waters had subsided, it was not clear if there were other areas of the village that were still flooded. Elsewhere in Marikina, the area around the Santolan LRT station was covered with brown sludge, and trash fluttered from a power pylon on the river bank.

Requests for help and other concerns arising from the disaster wrought by storm ‘Ondoy’ may be posted on GMANews.TV’s Facebook page.Melissa de los Santos, GMANews.TV
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