CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (Updated) -- The death toll in Monday’s flood here has risen to four following the recovery of an Octogenarian who was declared missing Monday afternoon, the rescue group said Tuesday, January 17.
The body of Virgilio Turno, 84, a Tuba gatherer in the village of Bulua here, was found Tuesday morning by a neighbor who was inspecting the damage wrought by the flood Monday night.
Tuno’s son said his father was missing Monday afternoon at the height of the heavy rain while gathering Tuba in the neighborhood.
Rescuers recovered the bodies of Renny Boy Cabido, 14, in the village of Agusan, east of this city on Tuesday morning, and Kian Montecino, 10, of the village of Awang in the town of Opol, Misamis Oriental, Monday evening.
Rescuers also fished out the body of Franklin Ociosbello, 59, of the village of Balulang, from the Cagayan de Oro City River Tuesday morning.
A 15-year-old Grade 9 student in Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School (Mogchs) was also missing since Monday night, the parents reported Tuesday morning.
Roy Leonen, of Lapasan, was expected to be home about 6 p.m. Monday after attending classes at the Mogchs, but has not gone home until Tuesday morning.
Leonen’s mother appealed for help over the local radio station here to locate her son whose whereabouts remained unknown until Tuesday.
The worried family members hoped that the young Leonen might have decided to spend the night with one of his classmates at the height of the heavy rain Monday night.
According to City Information Officer Maricel Casino-Rivera, 1,345 families or 5,625 persons were forced to abandon their homes and stay in 19 evacuation centers in Barangays Iponan, Bulua, Bonbon, Nazareth, Canitoan, Cugman, FS Catanico, Patag, Macasandig, Gusa, Barangays 24, 22, 7, Puntod, Bugo, Agusan, Balulang, and Carmen.
Barangays affected by the flood are as follows: Kauswagan (highway part), Carmen (particularly streets of Serina, Gumamela, Masterson Avenue, Macanhan, Zayas), barangay 33 (Cogon), barangay Lapasan (CM Recto area), Barangay Patag, Barangay Agusan, Barangay Balulang, Camaman-an, Gusa, Cugman, Puerto, Tumpagon, Pigsag-an, Tuburan, Taglimao, Pagalungan, Lumbia, San Simon, Pagatpat, Canitoan, Iponan, and Bulua.
Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano suspended classes in all levels of public schools Tuesday, as the Provincial Disaster, Risk Reduction Management Office continues to assess the damage brought about by the flooding.
With increasing flood damage, the City Council convened midnight Monday to discuss whether it was time to place the city under state of calamity.
Committee on Social Services Chairman Reuben Daba said the council voted to declare a state of calamity.
“Devastated naman gayud kaayo (All are devastated), so we see the need to declare the city in a state of calamity, wala pa gane apil ang atong hinterland barangays, even sa urban area lang grabe kaayo ka visible ang damage (the hinterland barangays are still not included, even in the urban areas the damage is visible),” Daba said.
The declaration would enable the city to release P5 million for use in emergency response and rehabilitation efforts. The City Government is mandated to set aside not less than 5 percent of the estimated revenue to support disaster risk management activities.
The City Government Tuesday has started giving food packs and medicines to the evacuees. Every Kagay-anon may get their supply in their nearest barangay health center, City Health Office, and the City Health Insurance Office for free medicines.
The Supreme Court also has suspended work in all courts in Cagayan de Oro City due to flooding and heavy rains caused by a low pressure area.
In an advisory, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno ordered the suspension, taking into account the heavy rainfall warning over Northern Mindanao.
According to Sereno, the continuous rains will make it “extremely difficult and dangerous” for court personnel to get to the courts.
The Chief Justice added she issued the order to allow court employees to “secure themselves and their families.”
As heavy rains poured on Monday evening, the flood victims were also overwhelmed with the donations and gestures of persons and establishments.
Big malls in the city, such as the Ayala Centrio Mall, Limketkai Mall, and SM City, opened their doors for the evening for people stranded by the flooding.
Although the mall tenants have closed, the Limketkai Mall through its Facebook page informed the public near Limketkai Center that they kept the mall open for temporary shelter to those who were stranded because of the flooding.
Ayala Mall has also opened its doors for the stranded shoppers and imposed no charges for those who had to park their cars in the mall’s parking lot overnight.
SM City too allowed stranded persons to park their cars overnight in the mall vicinity free of charge.
Flood waters also trapped hundreds of students at the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTSP).
The students and teachers were trapped in classrooms with no water and food as most of the campus was flooded.
Nef Luczon, a USTSP faculty member, said the water inside the campus began to rise at about 3 p.m. Monday.
“As I was on my way to my class, I noticed the water was at ankle level. After more than hour, it was already waist-deep,” Luczon, who writes a column in this paper, said.
He said students had to climb to the upper floors of the school’s buildings and waited until they were rescued. There were about 900 to a thousand students trapped inside buildings.
As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, January 17, City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office Weather Monitoring Chief Vergel Lago said residents in the evacuation centers may now go back to their houses as the city is back to its normal status.
Disaster officials in the city and the province of Misamis Oriental continue to monitor and assess the damage to properties as the aircraft of the Philippine Air Force conducted an aerial survey of the flood’s aftermath here.
Both the city and provincial disaster officials have yet to issue an estimated value of the damage to properties and agriculture in Cagayan de Oro City and Misamis Oriental.
The Department of Health will conduct medical checkups and distribute medicines for children and adults in various evacuation centers here Tuesday, the local health officials said. (PNA/Jigger J. Jerusalem/Pamela Jay F. Orias/SunStar Philippines)