Typhoon ‘Pablo’ pounds Mindanao

At least 42 killed, 24 missing in flash floods

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BLOWN AWAY Wrecked houses show the fury of Typhoon “Pablo” which ravaged a wide area of Mindanao. Officials said they did not expect that the floods, which reportedly swept people away, would be so deadly. CAI PANLILIO/ INQUIRER MINDANAO

Blown in the wind. Deaths in flash floods.

That’s what happened in areas in Mindanao raked by powerful Typhoon “Pablo” before dawn Tuesday.

Pablo moved swiftly on its predicted path, sending roofs flying off houses, hectares of coconut trees tumbling, rivers bursting their banks, canceling flights and ferry services, church bells ringing and sirens wailing in a large part of Mindanao where the Category 5 storm passed.

Inquirer bureaus in Mindanao and Cebu, in reports attributed to local officials, and civil defense authorities put the initial death toll—mainly in flash floods—at 42 and another 24 unaccounted for. Most of the deaths were in New Bataan in Compostela Valley.

In Manila, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said two Army platoons with possibly 66 soldiers were unaccounted for.

Benito Ramos, NDRRMC executive director, said each platoon had 33 soldiers. He said the command post of Charlie Company of the 66th Infantry Battalion at Barangay (village) Andap in New Bataan was reportedly washed away in a flash flood.

Contact with the platoons had not been established as of 4 p.m.

But Gen. Ariel Bernardo, commander of the 10th Infantry Division, told the Inquirer by phone that reports reaching him indicated only six soldiers were missing from the two platoons.

‘Totally unexpected’

Gov. Arturo Uy of Compostela Valley confirmed in a GMA News TV interview that 33 people drowned in New Bataan town. Uy said the bodies were retrieved at 5:30 p.m.

“It was totally unexpected,” Uy said. Flooding reached the barangay hall and the health center that were supposed to be on high ground.

“We never expected the waters to be that strong, the rescue team was only able to enter the area at 4:30 p.m.,” he said.

In the neighboring Compostela town, Provincial Board Member Neri Barte reported a woman and her two children were killed in a landslide.

Davao Oriental Gov. Corazon Malanyaon said four people were confirmed dead while 24 others were feared to have also been killed when Pablo hit the province at dawn on Tuesday.

“Of the 29, four have been confirmed. The rest, we still have to verify with reports coming from the ground,” Malanyaon told the Inquirer by phone.

The reports, the governor said, came from social welfare offices and police officers in Boston, Manay, Baganga, Caraga and Cateel towns.

“This is very depressing,” Malanyaon said.

She added that it was impossible for them to check on the reports yesterday because the roads were impassable due to landslides and fallen trees along the road leading to the towns.

1 soldier killed

The NDRRMC report of fatalities included Erlinda Balante of Manay town, Davao Oriental, Jigger Gomonit, 30, of Panao, Misamis Oriental, Elberto Daniel, 23, of Lazi, Siquijor, and 1st Sergeant Olivarez of the 10th Infantry Division.

Ramos said Olivarez was washed away along with his company commander, identified as Lieutenant Deazeta, after a flash flood hit their temporary command post at Barangay Andap at around 3 p.m. Deazeta was rescued but remains unconscious, Ramos said.

The soldiers’ first names were not immediately available.

The military command also reported power outages and communication interruptions because of fallen electrical outposts and power lines.

Packing peak slightly weakened center winds of 160 kilometers per hour, gusting up to 195 kph, the typhoon that was internationally called “Bopha” struck before dawn Tuesday at Baganga town in Davao Oriental, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

With a diameter of 500 km, the typhoon swept across the midsection of Mindanao, slightly below the path Tropical Storm “Sendong” took a year ago, before veering west northwest toward the southern Visayas region. Sendong killed over 1,500 people.

As of 4 p.m., the eye of the typhoon was located 60 km southeast of Dumaguete City, Pagasa said. It was forecast to continue moving west northwest at 24 kph, maintaining its peak strength.

Port authorities in Dumaguete said a ferry with six crewmen was missing.

The Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) said initial reports  showed that 8,400 families were evacuated to safer ground in Davao Oriental, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Leyte.

More than 3,430 passengers of 93 interisland vessels were stranded in 16 major sea ports, including those in Manila and parts of the Visayas and Mindanao,  the Philippine Coast Guard said.

In Davao Oriental, where Pablo made landfall, residents said the wind was so strong it sent coconut trees falling like logs cut by chainsaws.

Flordeliz Bantolinao, a teacher in Baganga, Davao Oriental, said a neighbor died in a house crushed by a coconut tree. Bantolinao said, by her estimate, 90 percent of houses in her village, Baculin, had either been destroyed or damaged.

Coconut trees felled

Bantolinao said in a phone interview that in a 10-hectare plantation in her village, all the coconut trees were felled.

She said other villages in Baganga, especially in the town center, could have suffered the same fate, if not worse, but she had no way of knowing for sure because the roads leading to the villages and the center of town had been blocked by fallen trees.

“Everything is gone—houses, crops,” Bantolinao said. She said the typhoon victims urgently needed food.

Baganga, which faces the Pacific Ocean, is some 100 kilometers from the capital city of Mati.

Emmalyn Oliveros of the Davao Oriental civil defense office, said the extent of damage in the province could not be known immediately because of downed communications.

Oliveros confirmed the death of a 5-year-old child, Errol Lintuan, of Barangay Tubaon in Tarragona town. Lintuan was killed when a tree fell on his family’s house around 5 a.m. Tuesday.

In Cebu City, civil defense authorities said a 23-year-old man died after a coconut tree struck him as he was driving his motorcycle in Lazi town, Siquijor.

By 2 p.m. Tuesday, officials in Davao Oriental had moved 856 families to evacuation centers.

In Tarragona, roofs were torn off houses, according to Vivencio Anislag of the municipal office.

25,000 flee in CDO

In Cagayan de Oro, the shrill sound of sirens warned residents of impending danger when the Cagayan River started to overflow its banks past 2 p.m. The sound of sirens combined with the pealing of church bells when water in the river rose 10 feet beyond its normal level.

While most residents had moved to evacuation centers by the time Pablo struck, many lingered by the riverbanks to watch the river’s water rise, prompting officials to send in policemen to forcibly move the kibitzers out of harm’s way.

The city information office said at least 25,000 people had been moved to 51 evacuation centers.

Willing to evacuate

Unlike when Sendong struck,  residents of some places in the path of Pablo knew of the dangers that faced them, and were more willing to submit to preemptive evacuation, officials said.

In Agusan del Sur,  two persons were injured when a tree fell on their house in Bayugan City.

Thousands of residents in Tacloban City, Leyte and St. Bernard, Southern Leyte, were evacuated as a preemptive measure. In Bacolod City, residents in coastal areas have packed their belongings.

Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez said that 247 families, or about 1,214 persons from seven barangays  had been evacuated since Monday night  to the Tacloban City Convention Center.

The Coast Guard in Legazpi City said a 6-meter storm surge hit the shorelines of Catanduanes, preventing vessels from docking at Virac port. With reports from Germelina Lacorte, Dennis Jay Santos and Jeoffrey Maitem, Inquirer Mindanao;  Jani Arnaiz, Joey Gabieta, Carla Gomez, Jhunnex Napallacan, Nestor Burgos Jr.,  Felipe Celino and Alex V. Pal, Inquirer Visayas; and Mar S. Arguelles, Inquirer Southern Luzon

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  • ThadeusSimon

    The Philippines has just voted “yes” for Palestinian statehood, and beatified Pedro Calunsod in Rome. Oh Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, have mercy to our nation. Open the eyes of the hearts of the Filipinos, that we may see the truth in the Bible. Remove the blindness in the eyes of our religious leaders, for You have said, “If the blind leads the blind, both of them will fall in the ditch.” (Matthew 15:14) Have mercy, have mercy, have mercy. You are the loving and forgiving God! May Jesus Christ alone be exalted and worshipped in this nation, Amen.

  • $14334231

    the wrath of nature is not the wrath of God….Our Almiighty has His way of punishment, not one nation at a time, but the whole universe…and when that times comes….pablo would be nothing compared to what God might have in store for us….meanwhile, let us all pray for those who are on the path of this typhoon, and to those who had perished…..the Lord is our Savior…..believe in Him….repent for your sins (politicians and gahamans, do you hear the LORD?)….

    • manuelcdiaz

      Is the LORD GOD unleashing all these calamities because HE LOVE his creation? What kind of GOD is this? If some of HIS creation displeases HIM why not just punish that individual why unleash typhoon, earthquakes tsunamis to punish even the innocents? This GOD must be a sadistic GOD!

      • $14334231

        you must be stupid not to understand my statement….i said this is the wrath of nature not GOD…..use your coconut brain, if you have one….

      • manuelcdiaz

        You are an idiot nature and God are one moron!

      • $14334231

        you really must have a thick head!!!….with a mental retardation…..i rest my case

      • manuelcdiaz

        you do not have any case imbecile!

      • $14334231

        hahaha…..the truth hurts!!!!!…

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IGLQQ2TTZF3BAWUHUWLFWVPZDE Vladymir

        your handle should be f@#$king daddy,you make no sense.you resort to name calling,and you think are spreading the word of god.what an idiot you are. 

      • $14334231

        hahaha…the truth hurts……

    • anu12345

      “pablo would be nothing compared to what God might have in store for us .the Lord is our Savior.”

      So which one is it? An ultimate punisher or a savior?

      • $14334231

        take your pick…..

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_N73ECKATO3OUMHGZEZKJINHA6A zZzzzZZ x

    soldiers dying in flash flood – only in da pilipins

    • GustoKoHappyKa

      why? are they not humans? do soldiers from other country dont die from natural calamity??? have you seen how big that typhoon? there is no safe place and they cant abandon their station.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QA4RLMR7R7ZX2J7GQXO4VB4PCE Tia

      They were probably sleeping while they were washed away…….you’ll left helpless if that is the situation.

  • RS1007

    Expect many self-righteous finger-pointing after this. Epal time

  • speaksoftlylove

    So what’s the big deal here? People died? Who cares, after all PNoy wants to control the population through the RH bill. So this is natures way of agreeing to PNoy’s wishes. Ian’t he the only begotten son according to his disciples and the Chosen One? But who knows who has the mark per the Bible’s Revelation.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/NLO2AAP3EKVA2H3FI2AM2KTGAA Jay

      So Pnoy now controls the weather? Whats RH bill got to do with nature?Isnt it easier to say that The Philippines is a tropical country and every year storms pass by our country.

      • speaksoftlylove

        He might, you fool. Have you forogot his first order to Pagasa when he fired Prisco Nilo? When a storm was coming to the Philippines he flaunted his order that he wanted absolutely no casualties. It’s either “he controls the weather” or he was sure that the storm will not hit the country that was why he was bragging. Got it punk? Now, you are the one who should grow up and stop being gullible airhead!

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/NLO2AAP3EKVA2H3FI2AM2KTGAA Jay

        Pendeho..again whats Prisco Nilo got to do with the weather? whoever he positions in PAGASA, hurricane will still enter the Philippines.even you live in the most advance country in the world this kind of tragedy would happened..stop watching Scyfy movies.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/NLO2AAP3EKVA2H3FI2AM2KTGAA Jay

        And stop thinking that”He Controls the weather”Is your Brain located in your feet.

      • tonyoks

        yeah…so why dont they try St. Peter Calungsod…maybe he can control…
        he’d done a lot of miracles,,,why didnt he, after all the show of strenght…
        4 cardinals 50+ bishops and the trapos…and  a 1 million devotees….

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/NLO2AAP3EKVA2H3FI2AM2KTGAA Jay

        I’m catholic but as a catholic i still have to keep an open mind.Before Pedro Calungsod became a saint,i know Filipinos would pray to other saints.when tragedy like this occur we have to be prepare.i always believe in the saying God help those who helped themselves.

    • peterrobann

      I hate it when people try to malign natural disasters with their political sabotage.. grow up. .

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DSV47VZXXSRI5RHI55BEQDQX5M PH GIRL

      sana nasama ka sa nalunod..

  • Taiko_Kauna

    Mga politicians, paunahan na naman ng report ng “huge” damages in preparation for availing of the calamity fund! Why the deaths? Ample warning has been issued by no less than the president. People should be able to smell the stink behind the “sorrows” of these politicians!

  • Bernice Azares

    Catiil, Davao was also devastated. Please send help to the rural areas.

  • Ordep1

    Pray na kay santo Pedro Calungsod! maling paniniwala = sobrang kalamidad!

  • princeipeazul

     I just hope no politician will take advantage of what has happened in Mindanao especially in Davao Oriental. Election is coming. Politicians would post banners, put their faces on packaging of the goods to be distributed, and any gimicks of the same manner. People, beware.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PPUPSBWP2WEBCCPGHRY54UCTOM Anne Torre

      As you are writing your wish, they have already done what you fear. They can’t miss that.

      • princeipeazul

         Well, it’s the people’s choice to be deceived or not!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PPUPSBWP2WEBCCPGHRY54UCTOM Anne Torre

    Now the administration has a reason why there is no power in Mindanao – the typhoon. Then when can Mindanao get enough power is the biggest question. Nhoynhoy can loan from ADB billion of dollars for CCT but he can’t think of the shortage in energy. What a brain!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VFPFOEUIFDLDNLIN3U5SN52A5A Gelai

    Just merely 3 days, di napigilan ni Pedro (Calungsod) ang galit ni Pablo.

  • DENAL

    there must be really climate change happenning, mindanao esp the southern part is not usually in the path of tai fungs.

  • AlexanderAmproz

    It’s time for the legal loggers to face their responsibilities,

    how to get a license without corruption ?
    Almost impossible, the legal loggers are illegal, biba ?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QKWKD2SIVBNXCVAXXFUN37OCY4 bsf

     Typhoon
    kills at least 283, hundreds missing, in southern Philippines. Remember
    the last time they attempted to pass the RH bill, Ondoy came on. Last
    August, God brought on the rain again that causes floods in Metro Manila
    & nearby areas when the time the RH Bill was forced passage was
    scheduled. It happened again and again when the controversial RH bill is
    up for voting. Let us pray for our lawmakers not to pass the RH
    bill and to listen to God’s way of telling that RH bill is not good and
    anti life. No to RH bill!!!

    • AlexanderAmproz

      Remember at Manila drought time.

      The clergy organized rain prayers, floods came,
      then organized drought prayers, after watching Meteo,

      Drought came !

      Are you an IDIOT ?

  • JaAb65

    oh ano DENR at illegal loggers pti na mga kakuntsabang buwayang pulitiko, anong msasabi nyo sa ngyaring flashflood sa mindanao, di na ntapos ang mga gnitong pngyayari, tgilan nyo na pgpputol ng troso sa kgubatan! mkonsensiya nman kyo mga hayop!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003524679900 Crime Lhocgah Spc

    lets pray…para sa mga kapuso natin sa mindanao..bkt.d kaagad na rsq.ung mga humans na namatay sa malaoit sa mauntai ..lands slidekills at least 283, hundreds missing, in southern Philippines. sana maka angtat po kayo..

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QA4RLMR7R7ZX2J7GQXO4VB4PCE Tia

    soooooo sad I’ve heard that the 23 year old man who was struck by a coconut tree while riding a motorcycle in Siquijor came from a big fiesta celebration in a neighboring barangay sooooooo sad. I wish he had stayed at the party where he attended, oh well at least he ate good foods before he died. Hopefully, he had a great time too. Now, he is in heaven……We should educate people esp. in small villages what to do in case there’s a big typhoon coming or disaster preparedness…..whatever to avoid this type of tragedy.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QA4RLMR7R7ZX2J7GQXO4VB4PCE Tia

    Mabuhay ang Siquijor sa lakas nang bagyo sa awa nang diyos dalawa lamang ang nasawi….isang bata raw at itong 23 year old man. GOD BLESS VISAYAS AND MINDANAO PATI NA ANG LUZON OR WHOLE PHILIPPINES. IT IS SOOOOOO SAD WHEN WE HEAR PEOPLE WHO WERE MISSING, DIED, LEFT HOMELESS ETC. PLS REMEMBER THAT EVERYDAY IS A NEW DAY, AND IT IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD, BANGON PILIPINAS!!!!!!!!! GOD IS ALWAYS THERE GUIDING ALL OF YOU!

  • Diana

    In this midst of tragedies like this, how can we say ‘ Merry Christmas’? Where does Christmas fit in? VA for Life is one in this cause to help typhoon victims with your support. Please share your love in this page http://www.vaforlife.com/pay-it-forward-with-va-for-life/

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