‘Quinta’ weakens into depression; no casualties reported from affected areas

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MTSAT ENHANCED-IR Satellite Image 10:30 p.m., 26 December 2012

MANILA, Philippines—Residents in central Philippines may now heave a sigh of relief.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said on Wednesday Tropical Storm “Quinta” (international name: Wukong) has weakened into a tropical depression as it continued to move away from Eastern Visayas with no reported casualties.

Benito Ramos, NDRRMC executive director, said the agency did not receive any report on dead, injured or missing persons hours after the storm made a landfall six times in Eastern and Central Visayas.

However, close to 6,000 individuals were marooned in various seaports in Visayas, Mindanao and Bicol regions after the Coast Guard prohibited ships and other small sea vessels from sailing.

“We are hoping that there will be no casualties (from this latest weather disturbance) since it has already weakened into a tropical depression,” Ramos told the Inquirer.

“I think it helped that residents in the areas affected by ‘Quinta’ were used to being visited by typhoons unlike those living in the Davao region,” he added, referring to the area battered by Typhoon “Pablo” early this month.

Over 1,000 people were killed and hundreds more were still missing when Pablo ravaged coastal and mining towns in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.

Besides a landslide in Sogod, Southern Leyte, and flooding in other areas, Ramos said the NDRRMC did not monitor any major incidents triggered by the storm.

He said the provinces of Leyte and Samar were the hardest-hit areas as heavy rains dumped by Quinta caused floods in residential areas and main thoroughfares from Buray, Western Samar, to Taft, Eastern Samar.

“The Maharlika highway in Barangay (village) Kahupian in Sogod has been closed to traffic because of a landslide. That main highway connects Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao,” Ramos said.

As of 3 p.m., the NDRRMC said 80 families composed of 265 indiviuals were taken to evacuation centers in Dapa town in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte province.

Ramos said local government units also ordered pre-emptive evacuation in Loreto, Dinagat Islands, in the towns of Guiuan, Salcedo, Mercedes and Balaginga in Eastern Samar, and in Sogod and Tacloban City in Leyte.

According to the NDRRMC, a total of 5,809 passengers were stranded while 184 rolling cargoes and 84 vehicles were forced to stay in 15 seaports.

It said five other seaports had also temporarily suspended their operations.

The NDRRMC said a small fishing boat carrying five persons capsized off Barangay Corregidor in Dapa town. The five—Jan Consigna, Niño Consigna, Jose Cadenas, Iyan Domingito and Winston Acad—were immediately rescued by barangay officials.

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