‘Tornado’ destroys 70 houses-A A +A
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
CEBU -- About 70 houses were damaged by strong winds, believed to be tornadoes, which hit parts of four cities and at least one northern town in Cebu last Monday night.
Victoria Jayag, 59, thought she was going to die.
“Mora’g ibton among balay unya mora’g idakdak (It felt like the wind was trying to lift our house, only to drop it),” Jayag said. She spent part of her time on Tuesday supervising relatives as they retrieved her roof, which had rested on top of a neighbor’s house.
Jayag was inside her house in Sitio Superior, Barangay Looc in Mandaue City with five grandchildren when the tornado struck during a heavy rain, sometime between 7:45 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes said 32 houses were damaged and five houses were destroyed when the tornado struck Barangay Looc and the Jayme compound in Barangay Tipolo.
In Lapu-Lapu City, 20 houses were reported damaged.
The wind also struck parts of Kalunasan in Cebu City, as well as Carmen and Compostela towns and Danao City in the north.
But before they could finish addressing the effects of the tornado, local officials in Cebu City and Mandaue, as well as the Office of Civil Defense, called on everyone to prepare for Typhoon Yolanda.
The typhoon (known internationally as Haiyan) is on track to make landfall in Eastern or Central Visayas late Thursday night or early Friday.
Engr. Oscar Tabada of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) Mactan station said that Yolanda could bring 20 to 50 millimeters of rain per hour.
Interviewed on TV Patrol Central Visayas Tuesday night, Tabada said the typhoon could bring rain from as far north as Baguio City to Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao.
He said there was a slight chance it might weaken upon landfall, but that it would be best to prepare.
Yolanda’s winds were estimated at 158 kilometers per hour (kph), although the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center said the typhoon could bring up to 222-kph winds.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma urged the faithful to offer prayers and contribute in preventing further damage.
As an example, Palma said that cleaning canals and streams can help prevent flooding.
“We can do a lot of things in the context of being good citizens,” he added.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said the City will be extending financial assistance to the two families in Sitio Remedios, Barangay Kalunasan who lost their houses during the tornado.
The mayor has asked the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (LDRRMC) to visit them and check their situation.
In Lapu-Lapu, some residents in Barangay Mactan were evacuated to their gym but returned to their homes on Tuesday.
A total of 31 families were identified by the Department of Social Welfare and Development as those affected by the disaster.
Three residents were injured.
The wind uprooted trees in the Mactan Elementary School and Barangay Mactan up to Punta Engaño. Some trees also fell on the roof of the Punta Engaño Elementary School.
In Barangay Tingo, the roof of the covered court was blown away. The ceiling of the barangay hall was also damaged.
Nine houses were destroyed while 10 incurred minor damages.
In a press release, the Lapu-Lapu Government said the affected areas were already cleared.
Rep. Luigi Quisumbing (Cebu Province, Sixth District) gave relief goods to those affected by the tornado. Within minutes after Monday’s incident, the congressman assured on Twitter that he had sent teams “to assess damage and conduct relief operations.”
He also provided a hotline for those in need of immediate help that night, then inspected some of the affected areas.
Waterproof canvass were provided by the Mandaue City Government to the affected families. Five kilos of rice and canned goods were distributed to the affected families.
Based on the Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) records, at least nine people were injured. They included Leo Rafael Sarmiento, Lorna Alvios, Val Cabasa, Gilda Matbaga, Esperanza Ermac, Benirando Ermac, Glendo Ermac, Dolora Piscante and Melisa Ordineza.
Mandaue City public information officer Roger Paler said one was brought to the hospital due to a cut on his foot.
Violeta Cavada, head of the Mandaue City Social Welfare Services, said 18 families were badly affected in Sitio Superior and nine in Jayme compound.
Meanwhile, three sitios in Barangay Kalunasan, Cebu City were also affected by the strong wind: Villa Remedios, Unit 5 Oprra and Hideaway.
Nine houses owned by Theresa Francisco, Emmie Valleroso, Libarato Eballas, Sipora Minosa, Raul Ybanez, Julius Gaviola, Norberto Bencalo, Cleff Paler and Librada Paras got damaged by fallen trees.
Among the earliest incidents to be reported happened at 7:50 p.m. in Barangay Estaca, Compostela, where a whirlwind started on the shoreline and wreaked havoc as it moved.
Senior Police Officer 2 Aldin Abayabay of Compostela Police Station said the tornado damaged the houses of Jerry Villagracia, Joel Alvarado and Allan Morales in Sitio Lutao.
It also didn’t spare two stone craft buildings owned by Kenneth Ramirez and Antonio Nated Jr.
Some trees fell on the road, which tied up traffic. After a few minutes, the wind died down, leaving nothing but damage.
At 8:30 a.m., another tornado was spotted at the wharf in Barangay Poblacion, Carmen that left a man injured.
The whirlwind was witnessed by construction workers of BNR Construction Corp., who were renovating the wharf. The wind carried their bunkhouses some 10 meters away, dropping them into the seawater.
Damage to property was pegged by police at P300,000.
Joevel Nuñeza, 18, who happened to be in the area, was hit by a piece of steel that went flying. He sustained injuries on his neck and head, and was brought to the hospital.
Police said the tornado travelled to Sitio Pier in Barangay Poblacion to the national highway before hitting a tree. It then vanished.
In Barangay Guinsay, Danao City, four huts were damaged by a tornado that struck at 9:10 a.m.
Police Officer 3 Marlon Remollo of Danao City Police Station said the affected families were those of Romeo Ruta, Binancio Gatdula, Davey Buena and Ruben Tapia.
Gatdula suffered injuries on his arm when the strong wind whipped up his house.
Remollo said the Danao City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council went to the area and promised to help the affected families.
Mayor Rama also instructed on Tuesday the LDRRMC to stand by and prepare for the typhoon.
He also instructed the Department of Engineering and Public Works to prepare all the heavy equipment, so these can be fielded right away in case of landslides.
Rama asked the public to be vigilant and immediately evacuate to higher and safer ground once it starts to flood.
Asked if the City will not order preemptive evacuation, particularly for those in flood-prone and landslide-prone areas, Rama said he needs to wait first for the weather updates from Pagasa.
These will start once the typhoon enters the Philippine Area of Responsibility, although Pagasa has initially forecast gusts and heavy rain in several areas, including Cebu, on Friday.
The mayor said it is possible that classes at all levels in both private and public schools may again be suspended due to the typhoon.
Classes at all levels in both private and public schools were suspended for two weeks following the 7.2-magnitude earthquake last Oct. 15.
The Mandaue City Government has identified the evacuation areas for residents who may be affected by floods. It said it has also stored goods that may be needed during the typhoon.
The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) advised people living in areas at high risk of landslides or flooding to evacuate.
“We encourage village chiefs and rescue officers to aim for zero casualty. We should be proactive rather than rescue,” said Flor Gaviola of OCD-Central Visayas.
The OCD urged the local disaster management councils to activate their operation centers and ensure there services can be sustained in evacuation centers.
“They also have to identify alternate evacuation centers in case their first plan would not push through,” Gaviola said. (Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 06, 2013.