Mindanao death toll now 5; 68 still missing—NDRRMCInquirer Mindanao
ALABEL, Philippines – The death toll in the floods, landslides and storm surges triggered by an extreme weather disturbance near Mindanao since Sunday has risen to five, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council. At least 68 people were missing in two provinces.
Council head Benito Ramos said in a nationally televised news briefing that more than 10,000 families had been displaced in five Mindanao provinces, including Sarangani.
Meanwhile, Major Jacob Obligado, civil military officer of the 10th Infantry Division here, said that of the more than 330 fishermen reported missing in Sarangani province alone, 276 had been rescued as of Thursday. He said 61 people were still missing.
Two hundred fifteen of the rescued fishermen were from the town of Maasim, according to Mayor Arturo Lawa. A search was continuing for 56 other townmates still missing, he said.
“Two patrol boats of the municipality are still conducting search-and-rescue operation in Sarangani Bay. Hopefully, more fishermen would be rescued,” Lawa said.
He said many more missing fishermen might have been swept to adjacent Davao del Sur as three of them drifted there and were rescued in Jose Abad Santos town.
In Digos City, Davao del Sur, the City Risk Reduction Management Council said a search for seven fishermen missing since Tuesday was continuing.
Rey Caballero, a disaster council officer, said they were coordinating with the Philippine Coast Guard in the provinces of Davao Oriental and Davao del Norte to help locate the fishermen.
In Glan, Sarangani, Mayor Victor James Yap, Sr. said the total number of affected families in his town went up to 700.
“The amount of damage is huge but I don’t have the exact figure yet,” he said.
Glan was declared under a state of calamity on Wednesday afternoon and Maasim was expected to follow suit.
In its 6 a.m. update, the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council reported that the dead in Mindanao included a girl buried in landslide in the Marilog district of Davao City on Monday.
Three others drowned when big waves smashed into coastal villages in Glan on Tuesday. They were identified as Segapo Cabalinding, 59, Orlando Mata, and Primo Ortega.
The fifth victim, the NDRRM said, was Ernesto Tereso, who drowned when floodwaters entered the gold mine tunnel he was working at in Bayugan, Agusan del Sur.
The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration reported that Tropical storm Butchoy entered the Philippine area of responsibility Thursday morning, much earlier than anticipated.
Pagasa said fishing boats and other small seacraft throughout the country were advised not to venture out to sea due to big waves.
“We directed RDRRMCs concerned through the OCD Regional Centers to undertake precautionary measures in their respective areas of responsibility and subsequently advised local DRRMCs to initiate pre-emptive evacuation of families in low-lying and mountainous areas if situation warrants,” Ramos said.
Colonel Prudencio Asto, spokesman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division which is based in Maguindanao but has jurisdiction over Central Mindanao areas, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone they were prepared to carry out mass evacuations if the situation would become worse in the next several hours.
“If the Rio Grande de Mindanao will overflow and cause severe flooding with the upcoming storm, we have men available,” Asto said.
Sarangani officials said fishermen had not been sufficiently warned about the weather disturbance and so went out to sea.
In Davao City, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau regional office admitted that residents of Sitio (sub-village) Ladian in Marilog district had not been forewarned about the dangers of landslides because the agency failed to include the area in its geohazard mapping.
With reports from Aquiles Zonio, Jeoffrey Maitem, Germelina Lacorte, Charlie Señase, Orlando Dinoy and Karlos Manlupig, Inquirer Mindanao