OZAMIZ CITY -- Two still unidentified persons died and two were missing in Northwest Mindanao during the heavy downpour due to weather systems’ low pressure area and tail end of a cold front Monday, January 16.

The Sapang Dalaga Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) described one casualty as a male, aged between 40 to 50 years old; the body was fished out of Dioyo River in the town while Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Police Chief Edwin Wagan described another casualty as a female aged between eight to 12 years old who was found floating along the shores of San Antonio village in Manukan town.

The Sapang Dalaga MDRRMO identified one missing person as Paterno Lazos, 76, a resident of Purok 1 of Barangay El Paraiso. Lazos was reported missing around 2pm Monday. He was last seen near the riverbank.

The other missing person is from Iligan City.

At the height of heavy rains Monday evening, some 122 families left their homes and stayed in five evacuation centers set up by the Iligan local government after it ordered pre-emptive evacuation for those living along riverbanks.

Parts of Iligan City were without power for almost six hours as an overhead ground wire of the transmission grid was destroyed, cutting off its connection to the supply of the Agus 6 power plant. Power was restored around 3 a.m. Tuesday, January 17.

Thousands of commuters were stranded for at least three hours in the national highway along Suarez village as some vehicles had a hard time negotiating the flood waters which were at least knee-deep.

A similar situation ensued in Manukan and Roxas towns of Zamboanga del Norte as deep waters halted the flow of vehicles coming from and going to Dipolog City; and in Sapang Dalaga, Misamis Occidental when a portion of the national highway along Betibot village was heavily flooded, rendering it impassable for small vehicles.

In Misamis Occidental, rescuers hauled to safety teenagers stranded in the middle of Napisik river as well as a family living near a creek in Calamba town, according to Paul de Barras of the provincial disaster risk reduction and management office.

As the rains intensified Monday afternoon, pre-emptive evacuation was carried out in Dioyo and El Paraiso villages of Sapang Dalaga town.

In the evening, rescuers who included Army troopers ferreted to safety 16 persons including a month old baby in Dagatan village in Oroquieta City as flood waters swelled due to the non-stop rains, de Barras said.

On Tuesday, classes in all levels have been suspended in the cities of Dapitan and Iligan, and in the Misamis Occidental towns of Plaridel, Aloran, Baliangao, Sapang Dalaga, Jimenez, Sinacaban, and Clarin.

In the cities of Ozamiz, Oroquieta and Dipolog, classes were suspended for pre-school up to senior high school.

In Dapitan, Mayor Rosalina Jalosjos also declared no work for local government employees except those belonging to the offices of budget, accounting, treasury, engineering, general services, social welfare, and health.