Undetermined number hurt as tornado slams into Zamboanga Sibugay townBy Julie S. Alipala
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—A powerful whirlwind or tornado ripped through the center of Kabasalan town in Zamboanga Sibugay in the wee hours Saturday, destroying or damaging houses and other buildings and leaving a still undetermined number of people injured, officials said.
Damage at two major buildings alone was initially estimated at more than P2 million.
Kabasalan Mayor George Cainglet told the Inquirer by phone that the tornado struck at 3:15 a.m. and lasted for about five minutes, damaging or destroying many structures, “including cooperative warehouses, the old public market, a multipurpose center, several stores and houses.”
He said a number of residents might have been injured judging from traces of blood found outside many damaged houses, but the exact number had yet to be determined.
He said officials were still assessing the situation as of 2 p.m. Saturday.
Adriano Fuego, director of the Western Mindanao disaster risk reduction management council, said initial reports reaching the center said only one person had been confirmed injured. He identified the victim as as Bebot Baricua, 40, who was hurt when the whirlwind hit his house.
Cainglet said the damage suffered by the Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative alone could reach P2 million.
Fuego said initial assessment of the public market indicated that the damage there could reach P200,000.