‘Agaton’ affects 257 Eastern Mindanao villages

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Sunday, January 19, 2014


SIX provinces and Davao City in Mindanao were placed under storm warning signal number 1 as Tropical Depression “Agaton” maintained its speed and strength and continues to move southwestward, threatening to make its landfall in Davao Oriental within 36 to 48 hours, the weather forecast said.

Placed under signal no. 1 by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) are Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao City, and Compostela Valley. The weather agency expects 30-60 kilometer per hour winds.

According to Pagasa, the movement of the wind has been unpredictable even before it turned into tropical depression because of the influence of the northeast monsoon or the “hanging amihan” and high pressure areas (HPA) off the Pacific Ocean. It also noted that Agaton is being pushed down the country by the two cold weather-associated systems.

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Tropical Depression Agaton was first anticipated to move west and make its landfall in Surigao City but the two high pressure areas that formed from the northeast monsoon had forced it to move southeastward.

Agaton then changed its direction heading towards southwest or the southern tip of the Davao Oriental, the Pagasa reported.

As of 11 a.m. on Sunday, Agaton was at 205 kilometers southeast of Hinatuan in Surigao del Sur or at 230 kilometer east of Davao City. Its maximum strength sustained wind of 55 kilometer per hour near the center. Thus, the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) has advised all disaster risk reduction and management council to alert its respective areas.

Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) Public Information Office head Capt. Alberto Caber, on the other hand, reported around 8,513 families in the Eastern Mindanao, were evacuated to safer grounds. He said there are 53 municipalities and 257 barangays have been affected by the wind of the Tropical Depression “Agaton”.

Of the 53 municipalities affected, five were in Surigao del Sur; 10 in Surigao del Norte; three in Dinagat Island; six in Agusan del Sur; four in Davao del Norte; nine in Compostela Valley; four in Davao del Norte; and 12 in Davao Oriental.

It was also noted that roads in Barangay Nurcha in Lanosa town in Surigao del Sur are not passable due to flood and landslide brought by the continuous downpour in the province. Rivers in Barangay Inawayan and Barangay Astorga, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur overflowed.

“So far, these are the initial reports we have obtained from the disaster risk reduction management council. According to the report there are some 29 deaths, 28 injured, and 7 missing in Eastern Mindanao,” Caber said, adding that 577 houses were also reportedly damaged due to the tropical depression.

In a separate interview, the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) in Davao Region director retired Brigadier General Loreto Rirao said the same municipalities are affected by the continuous rain brought by Agaton. He said the number of the families that are seeking shelter rose to 52,807 or 249,888 individuals from the previous record 31,352 families.

“As to the reported number of deaths, missing and injured naman, hindi namin masabi na dahil kay Agaton. There are still missing persons after the Low Pressure Area (LPA) hit some areas in Davao Region,” Rirao said, adding that there are 21 deaths, 64 injured and four still missing in Davao Region.

Of the 21 deaths, nine are from the Compostela Valley and 12 are from Davao Oriental. As to the 64 injured, 11 are from Compostela Valley, 51 from Davao Oriental and two in Davao del Norte. Meanwhile, three missings from Compostela Valley and one from Davao Oriental. The figures were recorded since the LPA turned into Agaton, Rirao added.

The OCD also noted P168 million estimated worth of agricultural damaged in Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, and Davao del Norte. Rirao said there were 398 houses partially damage and 495 houses totally damage. He added that the OCD in coordination with the local government unit is continuously monitoring the situation.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 20, 2014.

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