Pablo claims 56 lives in Davao Region

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

DAVAO CITY - Authorities reported at least 56 fatalities in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley alone, while around 20 soldiers went missing after Typhoon Pablo (international codename Bopha) made a landfall early Tuesday.

Erlinda Balante, 64, was fast asleep when strong winds brought by the typhoon hit and destroyed her house in Barangay Libton, Manay, Davao Oriental, around 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Her body was later recovered trapped in a rubble, the regional office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development said in its 4 p.m. Tuesday advisory.


Pablo made a landfall in Baganga in Davao Oriental around 4:45 a.m., bringing heavy rains and strong winds in almost all parts of Davao Region.

Compostela Governor Arturo "Chiongkee" Uy said that as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, 33 people in New Bataan were confirmed dead, including an undetermined number of Army soldiers deployed to conduct rescue operations in the area.

Uy said the soldiers were onboard a vehicle owned by the Provincial Government that was swept away by flashflood.

Six more people died in Mabini, also in Compostela Valley.

DAVAO. A rubber boat almost capsizes with the strong impact of monsoon waves brought by Typhoon Pablo as rescuers are about to return to the shore after a rescue operation in Barangay 76-A, Bucana in Davao City. (Seth delos Santos)

Seventeen more were confirmed to have died in the province of Davao Oriental, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council reported as of 5 p.m. -- one in Tarragona, one in Manay, three in Caraga, one in Baganga, and 11 in Cateel.

Three people were also reported injured in Davao Oriental and four others identified as Aliser Antigo, Tata Lamusao, Dodoy Depos and Nelson abadura, all residents of Banaybanay, went missing.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) hoisted Tuesday public storm signals in 24 of Mindanao's 26 provinces.

In Davao Region, based on latest advisory from Pagasa and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the provinces of Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte, including the Island Garden City of Samal, were placed under public storm signal number 3, while signal number 2 was up all over Davao del Sur, including Davao City, which experienced moderate rains and strong winds starting at 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Classes from pre-school to secondary levels in the region were suspended Tuesday.

Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, which have been without power since Tuesday morning, have continued to experience heavy rains with strong winds. Communication lines, including landline and cellular signals bugged down in almost all parts of these two provinces.

The Island Garden City of Samal has also experienced total blackout since Tuesday.

Montevista information officer Edwin Antia was, meanwhile, quoted by the Philippine Information Agency-Davao as having confirmed the death of six residents as of 12:30 p.m.

He also reported an undetermined number of injured persons, and about 50 houses damaged by flooding and strong winds brought by the typhoon.

Antia said the Montevista-Compostela road also remained impassable.

In a report to Undersecretary Benito Ramos, NDRRMC executive director and administrator of the Office of Civil Defense, OCD Regional Director Liza Mazo said that as of 1 p.m., at least 1,013 families or 5,065 individuals from 12 municipalities and three cities in Davao Region have been affected by flooding brought by Pablo.

Of those affected, 814 families or 4,070 individuals are now temporarily staying in various evacuation centers.

DSWD-Davao and other concerned government agencies and organizations have distributed relief assistance, including food packs to the evacuees.

The Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office in Don Marcelino, Davao del Sur, also reported 58 houses along the coastal area were washed out due to monsoon waves. At least 20 houses were also damaged.

Affected families were already evacuated and were given relief assistance, said Carmela Duron, DSWD-Davao information officer.

In Maragusan, Compostela Valley, five houses were destroyed, particularly in Barangay Poblacion, while three others were damaged in Barangay Cambagang.

Three homes were also destroyed in Barangays Talian, Salaysayan and Parason.

The MSWDO in Dujali, Davao del Norte also said that 21 families are presently staying at Tanglaw Day Care Center.

Mati City, meanwhile, has evacuated a total of 1,600 people from the different affected villages within the city. City Administrator Richard Villacorte said they have no reported injuries or casualties.

"We took lessons to the past two tsunami scares that hit Mati in the recent past. Most of our emergency responders ay mas mahusay na magrespond sa mga sakunang ganito," Villacorte said.

He admitted, however, that most residents of Mati were surprised with Typhoon Pablo since it was their first time to experience such a strong typhoon.

"People are generally surprised, not because they are unprepared but because they have never seen such a phenomenon in Mati in their entire lives. It's unprecedented to have winds like that, to have a real typhoon in Mati," said Villacorte.

Marcel Son, a member of the Dosmart Responders Group, said: "We had never experienced a real typhoon in Mati ever since, until Pablo came.”

Mati City Mayor Michelle Rabat ordered Tuesday the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council to convene to assess the actual damages to infrastructure, properties and agriculture.

She also asked the City Council to declare Mati under a state of calamity while village officials were ordered to assist affected families in returning to their homes.

Marikit Quiñones, head of the Housing and Resettlement Division of Mati City, said majority of the evacuees are those living in marine zones and are informal settlers or squatters.

As to affected roads, Alex Boyles, a member of the City Engineering team, said 90 percent of the roads are still passable while the remaining 10 percent are already being cleared of debris like fallen trees.

Duron said the DSWD has requested release of 2,000 family food packs for the affected families of Davao Oriental upon the request of Governor Corazon Malanyaon. Coordination with DPWH-Davao was made for the transport of said items.

Duron said the DSWD field office is currently purchasing additional food and non-food items for augmentation to affected provinces.

The hardest hit by Pablo was Davao Oriental, affecting the towns of Baganga, Boston, Caraga, Banaybanay, Manay, Tarragona, Lupon and Mati City. There were a total 741 families or 3,705 individuals in 10 barangays that were hit in the province.

Mazo also said the families affected from Compostela Valley province, Davao del Norte and Davao Oriental were evacuated to barangay halls and municipal gyms as pre-emptive measure.

Coast Guard District Southeastern Mindanao (CGDSEM) remains on high alert as its response teams are ready for dispatch, while Major General Ariel Bernardo, commander of the 10th Infantry Division, has ordered his field commanders to coordinate with the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

The Philippine Air Force and the 53rd Search and Rescue Squadron are put on standby along with the Search and Rescue Team of the Police Regional Office-Davao.

The Department of Health and DSWD are also ready to give out health services and rations for the evacuees. (With RSA/Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 05, 2012.

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