Saturday August 18, 2018

Wall crumbles in Tacloban; 1 dead, 3 missing

(UPDATED) - One person has been confirmed dead while search and retrieval operations are ongoing for three other people believed to have been buried after a concrete perimeter wall collapsed following incessant heavy rains in Tacloban City Saturday night, January 13.

Tacloban City Mayor Cristina Romualdez, in a social media post, said the landslide occurred along Congressman Mate Ave. in Barangay 43-B.

Brando Bernadas, city disaster risk reduction and management officer, said seven houses were buried under the rubble. As of 1 p.m. Sunday, rescuers have not retrieved the bodies of the three missing persons, but they have located the area where their house used to stand, Bernadas added.

Confirmed dead was Delia Carson, 63, a barangay tanod (watchman) of Barangay 43-B.

Bernadas said a portion of the perimeter fence of a vacant lot crumbled following incessant heavy rains since Friday..

"The part that collapsed is estimated to be 60 meters long, with a thickness of about 60 centimeters," he said.

Beside the fence is a narrow pathway that leads to an interior portion of the barangay, where informal settlers reside. The affected structures were made of light materials.

Bernadas said the city disaster management office was on blue alert Sunday, which means that evacuations were possible and they were closely monitoring areas that are prone to flooding and landslides.

"Our staff are coordinating with the barangays for possible evacuations in some areas," he said.

A portion of the Maharlika Highway, the national road that connects Eastern Visayas to Luzon and Mindanao, in the Nulatula District is easily flooded.

The road, situated about 5 kilometers from the San Juanico Bridge, was not passable Saturday because of waist-deep water, according to Commission on Population information officer Reyan Arinto.

Floodwaters have subsided, but these are still gutter-deep, Bernadas said.

He said the state weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) has advised that Leyte and the entire Eastern Visayas region are experiencing heavy rains due to three weather systems - northeast monsoon, tailend of a cold front and intertropical convergence zone.

"We were told the rains will continue until tomorrow (Monday)," Bernadas said. (Marites Villamor-Ilano/SunStar Philippines)