LPA unleashes fury in Northern Mindanao

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014


AS THE low pressure area (LPA) unleashes its fury since last week, many parts of Mindanao and other areas in the Visayas are bracing up with the widespread destruction it has brought including deaths and damages to properties.

All classes in Misamis Oriental were suspended on Tuesday as the LPA continues to hover above Mindanao and the Visayas.

Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano ordered the suspension of classes to secure the safety of all students in the province.

“With the occurrence of the LPA, we must not be complacent of the situation as the province is prone to landslides and flood,” Emano said.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Council (PDRRMC) activated the disaster risk reduction management protocols at the municipal levels to prepare for possible disasters as the heavy downpour continues.

Misamis Oriental environmental consultant Josefino Bascug said Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro are experiencing heavy downpour citing the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) weather advisory as of Tuesday that there is no tropical cyclone existing within the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).

The LPA was estimated at 70 kilometers (km) southwest of Cagayan de Oro City.

Incidents

Provincial administrator Edmundo Pacamalan Jr. said a total of six incidents were reported: two landslide incidents in Pampangon, Talisayan and Mimbolo, Medina; and four flooding incidents in Alubijid, Medina, Manticao and El Salvador.

Pacamalan said a total of 216 persons or 31 families are affected in barangays Baybay and Loguilo, Alubijid and 23 persons or nine families in Manticao.

Pacamalan said the affected families have occupied two evacuation sites in barangays Duka, Medina and Alubijid.

He said a road in Medina was covered with dirt resulting from a landslide but was already cleared. A bridge in Kamanaga, Manticao collapsed and has become impassable.

In barangay Bobontugan, Jasaan, a house was damaged while in Kamanga, Manticao, a bridge collapsed due to the heavy rainfall.

No casualty

Emano was thankful that there were no casualties reported.

“As the rain continues to pour, we have reactivated the PDRRMC secretariat to monitor status reports and situation around the province,” Emano said.

He said the PDRRMC will be receiving incident reports for processing and documentation and for recommendation for action.

As of Tuesday, Emano did not order evacuation in some parts of Misamis Oriental, “but we are closely coordinating in some areas of the province that are prone to flash floods and landslides.”

Emano ordered for the deployment of personnel and heavy equipment like dump trucks, backhoes, grader at four strategic locations in the province identified as flood zones and rain-induced landslide-prone areas for immediate repairs and clearing operations.

Emano also ordered the provincial social welfare and development (PSWD) for deployment of food packs and water at strategic locations within the evacuation centers to support the MSWD office of each LGU. The provincial health office has also alerted its trauma and emergency teams.

Cagayan de Oro

City information officer Maricel Rivera told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro Tuesday that 21 families with a total of 95 individuals from barangay Canitoan evacuated to the school and covered court there.

“Some residents in Iponan started evacuating as rescue team assisted them,” said Rivera.

Rivera added the city social welfare and development (CSWD) office has been attending to the basic needs of the evacuees, like food and other basic support while members of the city disaster risk reduction management council (CDRRMC) were already in the area to attend to the evacuees.

Keisha Redoble, officer of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Sub-region, said classes in the city were suspended because of flooding.

“So far it is still raining here and some of the bridges were deemed impassable,” Redoble told this paper Tuesday.

Lanao del Norte

The 1957 Napo–Lapayan bridge that links the two coastal towns of Linamon and Kauswagan in Lanao del Norte collapsed around 8:30 in the evening Monday.

Master Sergeant Ibrahim Mohammad, detachment commander of 5th Infantry CAFGU Battalion told the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro that as the middle part of the bridge lowered, the debris from the mountains like logs and coconut trees rammed the foundation resulting to the collapse of the bridge.

Houses below the detachment were totally damaged as the river water overflowed, Mohammad added.

Hundreds of vehicles and commuters have been stranded.

On Tuesday morning, fishermen who have motorized banca ferried commuters at P20 per passenger while cargoes have higher rates.

Motorcycles-for-hire or “habal-habal" also waits for passengers at the entrance of Larapan river in Kauswagan town and in nearby Napo bridge junction in Linamon town, Mohammad added.

Iligan City Mayor Celso Regencia who came from his hometown in Kolambugan, Lanao del Norte was among the stranded commuters on Tuesday. Regencia took the paddle boat to cross the swollen river to get to Iligan City.

Lt. Col. Danilo Ibon, commanding officer of 4th Mechanize Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army deployed troops and provided rescue assistance to residents affected by flash flood in various barangays in Iligan City and Linamon town in Lanao del Norte.

"We directed the vehicles entering Linamon town not to proceed to Napo after the bridge had collapsed to prevent or minimize traffic congestion," Ibon said.

There was total darkness and the water supply was cut off from the upper portion of sitio Tinago of barangay Robocon in Iligan City.

Linamon Mayor Noel Deano said: “We utilize the fire truck to provide water supply while the local water district personnel are fixing the damage portion of the main line.”

"There are no casualties but more on damages of properties have been reported. We are still consolidating the total damages," Deano said.

The LPA hit eight barangays in Linamon but heavy damages occurred in barangays Napo, Samburon and Magoong, Deano added.

Napo barangay chairman Ambrosio de Asis said that 40 houses are partially damaged and 27 houses totally damaged.

Sandra Flores, information officer of the the Department of Public Works and Highways in Northern Mindanao (DPWH), in an interview with TV Patrol Mindanao Tuesday, said the maintenance crew of DPWH has been dispatched to install steel bailey panels to provide temporary pathways for the commuters.

Flores said it would take almost a year to reconstruct and rebuild the Napo Bridge. DPWH-10 has also requested the funding of P85 million for Napo bridge reconstruction.

Flights cancelled

Engineer Jose Budiongan, Laguindingan Airport manager, told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro that flights have been cancelled since Friday until Sunday. Regular operations resumed on Monday, however, the heavy rainfall since Monday evening until Tuesday prompted the airlines to cancel the flights due to the inclement weather.

Around 13 flights were cancelled Tuesday. The airport doesn't have the complete navigational aids, but Budiongan added the said facilities don't warrant planes to land on inclement weather like these days, though they can help.

"If clouds are too thick and low and the complete runway lights are available, but the instrument approach procedure doesn't warrant any landing, no plane can land," Budiongan said.

He said that compared to June 2012 to August 2012 and June 2013 to August 2013, Lumbia airport registered more flight cancellations than Laguindingan.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 15, 2014.

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