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Albay under state of calamity due to landslides, floods

December 30, 2010 10:43am

Tags: Albay
(Updated 10:12 p.m.) The province of Albay was placed under a state of calamity on Thursday after five days of rains triggered floods and landslides and displaced over 32,000 residents.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda, in a radio interview, said the province was placed under a state of calamity after the death of an 80-year-old woman, Lolita Dapdap, who was swept away by raging floods late Wednesday afternoon.

Dapdap's 50-year-old son, Antonio, who was earlier reported missing, became the second fatality, according to the 8 p.m. report by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

The NDRRMC said that some 6,690 families or 32,618 people had been evacuated, including families from landslide-hit areas in Manito, Sto. Domingo, Malilipot and Bacacay towns in Albay; and flood-hit areas in Malilipot and Jovellar towns and Legazpi City.

Also among the evacuated residents were 2,132 families or 9,485 people from Daraga town in Albay; and 170 families or 850 people from Camalig town.

On the other hand, provincial disaster management officials in Sorogon reported 29 families in Castilla town were affected by flooding but went to relatives and neighbors.


Personal blow

Salceda, a former lawmaker and two-term governor, admitted that the incident delivered a big and personal blow to him.

"After four years, first death ko ito sa dami ng disasters...First time iyan na may namatay under my watch kaya napaka-dramatic ng pagkamatay na ito," said the governor, who the report described as being teary-eyed over the incident.

Under Section 21 of Republic Act No. 10121 or the “Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010," once a state of calamity is declared, a local government unit (LGU) may use its calamity fund, equivalent to five percent of its internal revenue allotment (IRA).

According to Salceda, the evacuation centers in the province are currently home to 857 families (or 3,974 people) most of whom were pre-emptively evacuated.

Salceda appealed to state weather forecasters to give a name to the tail-end of the cold front that is affecting the region, just like what they do to tropical cyclones.

That way appropriate storm warning signals could be raised to help LGUs take the appropriate actions to minimize risks to the public.

"Para kasing may isang malaking cloud mat at tinutukan talaga ang Albay. It's like a typhoon without wind," Salceda said. He described the tail-end of the front as "treacherous" and "silent killer."

"On the ground they are major hazards. Napaka-traydor ng weather system na ito," he added, further attributing the weather disturbance to climate change.

Salceda said the local government can still cope with the situation using their existing finances, saying that their calamity fund was still intact.

Weather conditions may improve

The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has already assured the public that weather conditions in Bicol may improve by New Year's Day.

However, PAGASA forecaster Jori Loiz said rains loom over parts of Eastern Visayas and Northeastern Mindanao on January 1.

Landslides temporarily isolated Tinapian village in Manito town in Albay as of 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

On the other hand, the main road along seven villages in Casiguran town in Sorsogon - Rizal, San Pascual, Santa Cruz, Burgos, Tiris, Casay, and Inlagadian - were rendered impassable due to spillway overflow in Casay village.

Maintenance crews from the Philippine Army and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) have started road clearing operations, the NDRRMC said.

Manito town

Meanwhile, Bicol Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) head Bernardo Alejandro IV said they are concentrating efforts in Manito town, a remote town that is prone to landslides and flash floods.

"Nag declare si Gov. Salceda ng state of calamity. Ang efforts concentrated sa Manito, (at least) 50 (people) need rescue to safer grounds. According to reports from the mayor medyo tumaas ang spillway, overflowing ang tubig," Alejandro said in an interview on dzBB radio on Thursday.

(Albay Governor Jose Salceda has declared a state of calamity. But our efforts are now concentrated on Manito town, where at least 50 people need to be brought to safer grounds. According to reports, water levels from the spillway had risen and the water is overflowing)

He said they are coordinating with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) to see if they should also watch out for lahar flows from Mayon Volcano.

Alejandro said they are working with the local military to build temporary bridges at the spillway area to help residents get to evacuation centers.

"Kailangan careful ang evacuation dahil may bata at matanda (We have to be careful in our evacuation because there are children and elderly people)," he said.

"Ang DOH naka-standby to assist, ang relief goods nakahanda na (The Department of Health is on standby to assist the families. We are ready with relief goods)," he said. – VVP/KBK, GMANews.TV

Tags: Albay



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