Floodwaters, rain affect 31,000 families

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014


AT LEAST 31,352 families are still seeking shelter in 92 evacuation centers all over Davao Region in areas affected by the continuous downpour brought by the Low Pressure Area (LPA) since January 11.

Throughout Mindanao, travel has become more difficult with the collapse of major bridges and flight cancellations.

The latest bridge that collapsed is the Napo-Lapayan Bridge at the boundary of Linamon and Kauswagan in Lanao del Norte paralyzing land transport between northern and western Mindanao.

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Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Davao Regional Director Mariano Alquiza said the sudden rise of river water level caused by heavy rain had affected several bridges mostly in Davao Oriental with six of those structures were not passable as strong current of floodwater damaged them.

Alquiza said that eight of the affected bridges are located in Davao Oriental, seven of which are located at Surigao Sur-Davao Coastal Road and one in Tibanban-Lavigan Road.

He noted that among those bridges declared by the authorities which were not passable along Surigao Sur-Davao Coastal Road in Davao Oriental are Quinonoan Bridge in the town of Tarragona (due to damaged bridge approach); Caraga Bridge (damaged on Pier 13) and Governor Teodoro Palma Gil (Manurigao) Bridge (scoured bridge approach), both in the municipality of Caraga; and Lumao Bridge in Cateel (totally washed-out).

He also added that three other bridges were affected by the scouring of approach namely Ibobotoc and Dakung Banua Bridges in Boston, and Taytayan Bridge in Cateel but are passable to vehicular traffic with DPWH maintenance crew deployed for embankment works and appropriate warning signs installed to forewarn motorists.

Meanwhile, Magdug Bridge along Tibanban-Lavigan Road in the municipality of Governor Generoso was declared not passable to all types of vehicle due to eroded bridge approach.

Also, Governor Miranda Bridge 1 in Tagum City, Davao del Norte was also closed to traffic due to floodwater approaching the bridge, forcing the diversion of southbound vehicular traffic to Governor Miranda Bridge 2.

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, 18 flights of Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia Zest heading two and from Cagayan de Oro City were cancelled.

In Davao Region, local disaster risk reduction authorities urge the public to remain vigilant as the low pressure area continues to bring rain all over the region.

Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) director Loreto Rirao, in a phone interview, said 16 municipalities, two cities, and 100 barangays experienced flooding and landslides affecting 152,276 individuals.

In Davao City, around 55 families or 275 individuals from Jade Valley, Barangay Tigatto and El Rio Subdivision in Barangay 19 in Davao City were evacuated to the safer grounds when rivers nearby overflowed. They have since returned home as river levels subsided.

The OCD recorded 15 deaths, of which six were from Compostela Valley, eight from Davao Oriental and one from Davao del Norte; 34 injured and 13 missing. As to the agriculture damage, the OCD noted P11,340,575 million worth of damage in Davao del Norte.

"According to the initial report of the local government unit in Davao del Norte, pinakamalaking damage comes from Tagum City. In Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, wala pa silang naisa-submit na report," Rirao said.

"Actually, we are currently (Tuesday) conducting meeting with the concerned government agencies to discuss on the matter (submission of the estimated damages)… na kahit wala pa yung disaster, maka pag-submit man lang sana sila ng initial report," Rirao added.

Flashfloods occurred in the Municipalities of Asuncion, Kapalong and New Corella, Davao del Norte; also in the Municipalities of Monkayo, Montevista, New Bataan, Pantukan, and Compostela.

Landslides took placed in New Corella town and Tagum City, Davao del Norte, and Cateel town and Tarragona town in Davao Oriental Province due to continuous downpour.

Based in the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) report as of 4 a.m. on Tuesday, a total of 8,284 hectares of 10 municipalities has been damaged in Davao Oriental. No estimated amount yet.

The NDRRMC also noted 10 landslide incidents and five flashfloods in Region 10, 11, and Caraga Region. A total of 40,640 families composed of 199,327 individuals are affected in 192 barangays in 48 municipalities in 10 provinces of the three regions in Mindanao.

Report also said that the irrigation dams in Aragon and Taytayan, Cateel in Davao Oriental were damaged due to flashfloods.

Compostela Valley Provincial Governor Arthuro Uy issued suspension of classes to all levels in the province on January 13.

Rirao said the OCD placed Davao Region under alert status. He added that a continuous monitoring and coordination with the government officials in its area of responsibility is still being conducted.

"Our rescue and relief operation is still ongoing. Sa mga gustong tumulong o magbigay ng kanilang in-kind donations please coordinate with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)," Rirao said.

Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) Public Information Office head Capt. Alberto Caber, on the other hand, said their unit deployed close to 400 government troops from Army’s 10th Infantry Division to assist the local government official in Davao Region.

Caber added that the troops were deployed to New Corrella in Davao del Norte, Comval, and in the municipalities of Taragona, Boston, Cateel, Baganga, Caraga and Manay, Davao Oriental.

There were also around 400 soldiers under the 4th Infantry Division deployed in various areas in Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur and Surigao del Norte, which had also affected with the LPA.

Eastmincom commander Lt. Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz III directed all military unit in its area to join with the municipals Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council volunteers, local officials and PNP for the rescue and relief operations. (Sun.Star Davao)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 15, 2014.

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