'Agaton' claims 1 life

ONE person was killed while 623 families were evacuated due to heavy flooding and landslide after Tropical Depression Agaton made landfall in southern Cebu earlier today.

According to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), nine towns and one city were affected by Agaton’s onslaught.

Local officials immediately implemented evacuations, especially in areas that are prone to landslides and flooding.

Agaton brought heavy rains and strong winds when it made landfall in Santander around 4 a.m.

It also claimed the life of 63-year-old Flora Matas, a resident of Sitio North Suba, Barangay Looc in Malabuyoc.

Matas and her family had just evacuated their house when she decided to return home to pick up some things. When she reached her bedroom, a mudslide covered their house, which is located below a cliff.

SPO1 Marvin Ando, desk officer of the Malabuyoc Police Station, told Sunstar Cebu that Matas and her family decided to evacuate because of the heavy downpour.

Police and emergency responders conducted a two-hour retrieval operation before they dug out Matas’s body around 6:40 a.m.

The PDRMMO initially reported a second fatality, who was identified as Ritchie John Pimentel, 39, but his death was not considered storm-related.

Pimentel was killed after he reportedly fell off his house in Barangay Sto. Niño, Malabuyoc.

The victim was asleep when he was suddenly awakened by the rain. He immediately went out, but as he was exiting his front door he fell head first into the ground.

Ando said the flood had swept away Pimental’s bamboo stairs.

Pimentel was rushed to a nearby hospital but he died due to severe head injuries.

Julius Regner, PDRRMO information officer, said the Provincial Government will still provide aid to Pimentel’s family.

In Barangays Sangi, Luray, Ibo, Bato and Daanlungsod, Toledo City, 600 families were forcibly evacuated after floods hit the city just before Agaton made landfall.

In Pinamungajan, 14 families in Sitio Campo, Barangay Poblacion were also evacuated due to rising waters.

In Upper Becerril, Boljoon, 23 families were also evacuated when the Lusapon River overflowed.

The affected families were taken to an evacuation site in Barangay Poblacion, Regner said.

Boljoon Mayor Merlou Derama suspended classes at the Boljoon Central Elementary School and the Boljoon National High School because of flooding in their vicinity.

Landslides also occurred in the towns of Ginatilan, Alegria and Malabuyoc, while flooding also occurred in Carcar City, Sibonga, Barili, Dumanjug and Argao.

In Alcoy, strong winds felled trees, and destroyed three houses.

Trees littered the highway in Barangay Pugalo, affecting traffic. Vehicles, though, were able to pass as soon as the debris was cleared.
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