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Over 10,000 people evacuated in Caraga due to floods

January 3, 2011 8:59am
(Updated 9:57 p.m.) Thousands of people fled their homes early Monday morning when two days of continuous rains caused floods in the Caraga region in Mindanao.

In Agusan del Norte province alone, at least 8,530 people were evacuated, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) in its 7 p.m. report. One person, six-year-old Cristy Jane Celocia, was reported dead due to drowning.

Similarly, at least 2,009 persons fled their homes in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur and Surigao City, Surigao del Norte. The number of evacuees came from initial reports of local disaster councils, private rescue teams, and social welfare offices.

The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the tail-end of a cold front will continue to bring thunderstorms and widespread rains over Northeastern Mindanao.

On Monday afternoon, with 52 barangays in nine municipalities submerged in floodwaters, Surigao del Sur Governor Johnny Pimentel asked the provincial board members to declare the province under a state of calamity.

In a phone interview on Monday, Pimentel told GMANEWS.TV that residents in the affected areas need the government's support at this time.

“The town of San Miguel is already submerged in six foot high floodwaters lagpas tao pa yung lalim. In towns of Barobo, Cantilan and Lianga, some low lying areas there are no longer passable with all types of vehicles forcing some to use rubber boats and bancas as means of transporting people, relief goods and others," Pimentel said.

Radio station tower collapses

The regional office of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) said the 175 -feet tall radio station tower of government-owned Radyo Ng Bayan Tandag has reportedly collapsed around 3:00 a.m. early on Monday.

PIA-Caraga regional director Abner Caga said Radyo Ng Tandag Senior Announcer Nerissa Espinosa confirmed to him that radio tower fell down after strong winds hit it.

Four people missing?

Meanwhile, the regional office of Civil Defense in Butuan City is verifying reports that four people, two of them minors, reportedly went missing after flash floods hit low lying areas along the Agusan river on Monday.

“Disaster and rescue officials mostly members of local government unit of Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte failed to contact our office to report sana daw that two of their constituents were missing believed to have drowned by strong current of flood waters overflowing Agusan river, wala daw kuryente sa area kaya hirap mag report," OCD-Caraga regional director Dr. Blanche Gobenciong told GMANEWS.TV.

Two other persons, reportedly a father and his son, allegedly went missing in Esperanza, Agusan del Sur after the two allegedly tried to catch logs floating at the Agusan river.

Evacuees flee to safer grounds

A little girl rides a pedicab along the flooded R. Plama Street in Butuan City. Ben Serrano
Max Tutor, president of the local Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas and the local rescue group Clean 10, said about 1,117 evacuees from San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, were temporarily housed in the municipal gym as of 2:30 a.m.on Monday.

In a phone interview, Tutor told GMANews.TV that his house in Barangay 3 in San Francisco was among those submerged in floodwaters.

In Barangay 3, San Francisco alone, some 151 people were evacuated to the municipal gym as of 2:30 a.m. on Monday.

In Surigao City, flash floods forced about 392 people (or 72 families) to leave their homes in barangays San Juan and Washington, the Surigao City Social Welfare info bulletin said.

The PIA also reported that residents of Villa Corito Subdivision fled to evacuation centers as floodwaters continued to rise. There was no report yet on the exact number of evacuees as of posting time.

Meanwhile, the regional office of the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau (MGB) in Surigao City on Sunday warned residents of both low-lying and mountainous areas that continuous rains could cause flash floods and landslides, the PIA reported.

Alilio Ensomo, Caraga regional MGB director, urged residents living near mountains and those engaged in small-scale mining activities to stay away from the mountainsides as these were prone to landslides, MGB Information Officer Genevieve Chua said.

Local officials of the Dinagat islands have also been monitoring the situation there, after floods and big waves were observed along coastal areas.

In Butuan City, residents in low-lying areas began to evacuate at about 2 a.m. on Monday, the City Disaster Coordinating Council reported. However, the report did not mention how many families were affected.

Floodwaters have already submerged some houses in Barangays Colorado, Jabonga, Agusan del Norte as of 2:00 a.m. on Monday, the Municipal Disaster Coordinating Council reported. — DM/LBG/VVP/HS/KBK



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