2 dead as ‘Gener’ skids through Cordillera-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
STRONG rains brought about by Typhoon ‘Gener’ resulted in the suspension of classes and the death of two persons in Benguet and Baguio City Tuesday morning.
Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwan and Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan cancelled the classes in all levels as more than 242-millimeter of rain was recorded in the past two days coupled with strong winds, resulting in major landslides in 20 national and provincial roads in Cordillera.
Prisca Pacyaya, 64, was about to check a water leak outside their house in Ucab, Itogon around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday when she was hit and covered by a landslide. Her body was recovered by responders and policemen four hours later.
The other fatality, 15-year-old Clinton Idio, was driving a motorcycle around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday with two others also in Ucab, Itogon when a landslide came rushing toward them.
Idio was killed immediately in the landslide, while the other passengers of the motorcycle survived.
In Hingyon, Ifugao, Ezekiel Calubaguib and Rona Del Ramos, both 16 years old, were wounded when they slipped through muddy slopes while passing through a landslide portion in Sitio Oong. They were immediately rushed to Bayombong Hospital in Nueva Vizcaya.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) reported that roads affected by rock and landslides in the region were Baguio-Bua-Itogon Road, Shilan-Beckel Road, Kabayan-Buguias-Abatan Road (Alapang Section), Acop-Kapangan-Kibungan-Bakun Road (Camunayan Section), Pulag-Bagtangan Road and Gakingan Section, Benguet-Nueva Vizcaya Road (Guesset Section), Baguio-Bontoc Road (Lengaoan Section), Ampusungan-Sinipsip Road, Lomon-Kapangan-Kibungan Road, Halsema Highway (Ambassador Section) in Benguet.
In Ifugao, the Nueva Vizcaya-Ifugao-Mt. Province Road (Mt. Polis Section), Nueva Vizcaya-Ifugao (Oong Section) and Banaue-mayoyao-Aguinaldo Road were closed due to landslides.
Claveria-Calanasan Road in Apayao province was also closed to traffic since Sunday.
In Mt. Province, roads leading to the eastern side, particularly the Talubin-Barlig-Natonin-Paracelis Road (Lunas Section), Mt. Province Ifugao Road (Bayyo Section) and Mt. Province-Ilocos-Sur Road (Calacaban Section), were also closed due to rock and landslides.
In Baguio City, Leonard Wood Road was closed due to fallen trees, while two sections of Kennon Road, one of the main entry points to the city, were closed due to landslides.
The DPWH has fielded heavy equipment to affected areas to open closed roads in the next 24 hours.
Benguet Electric Cooperative and the National Grid Power Corporation also reported several power interruptions in La Trinidad, Itogon, Tublay and Kibungan, Benguet and parts of Baguio City due to fallen poles and transformers, but power was restored in matter of hours.
The Department of Agriculture sent monitoring teams to survey agricultural areas affected by the typhoon as the closure of major roads are expected to affect the supply of highland vegetables in the lowlands.
Several evacuation areas, meanwhile, were prepared by local governments in coordination with the Cordillera Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) as several families in Benguet were started to be evacuated due to landslide.
A family in Sitio Kesbeng in La Trinidad was also evacuated at the Benguet Provincial Capitol.
CDRRMC officials are also closely monitoring the rainfall and water levels in Ambuklao and Binga Dams, which are already past its spilling levels with four to six gates open.
The country’s weather bureau in its 11 p.m. Tuesday bulletin said Typhoon Gener has maintained its strength while moving northward.
Based on satellite and surface data, the center of the typhoon as of 10 p.m. Tuesday was located 250 kilometers northeast of Basco, Batanes. The typhoon is packing winds of 120 kilometers per hour (kph) and gusts of up to 150 kph.
Public storm warning signal number 3 was hoisted over the Batanes Group of Islands; signal number 2 over Cagayan, Calayan Group of Islands and Babuyan Group of Islands; and signal number 1 over Isabela, Kalinga and Apayao.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development said it has activated its operations center with standby 400 family packs per province and P500,000 quick response fund.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 01, 2012.