Nearly 5,750 passengers and 82 interisland vessels were stranded at Manila’s North Harbor and 11 other major ports in Bicol, the Visayas, and northern Mindanao due to tropical storm Quinta (international code name: Wukong).
In a report, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said yesterday that at least 2,550 passengers were stranded in Manila; 939 in Cebu City; 625 in Ozamis City; 454 in Maasin City, Southern Leyte; 300 in Dumaguete City; 223 in Sorsogon; 200 in Cagayan de Oro City; 145 in Iloilo City; 111 in Tagbilaran City; 82 in Catbalogan City, Samar; 75 in Butuan City; and 44 in Dapitan City.
In Iloilo City, trips of sea vessels from the ports of Iloilo and Caticlan in Aklan were suspended yesterday morning due to storm Quinta, stranding around 1,700 passengers.
The Coast Guard station in Iloilo reported that 1,654 persons were stranded as of 10 a.m. after 20 vessels were not allowed to leave port.
Lt. Commander Dominador Senador, Coast Guard Iloilo station commander, said travel of fast craft vessels between Iloilo and Bacolod cities weresuspended yesterday after Panay and Guimaras islands were placed under storm signal no. 1.
Trips of motorboats plying between Iloilo and Guimaras continued but the number of passengers was limited to 75 percent of the maximum capacity of motorboats.
In Barotac Viejo town, Iloilo, 30 patients of a district hospital were evacuated yesterday afternoon due to heavy rains and threats of flooding.
The patients were transferred to the town’s gymnasium around 3 p.m., Barotac Viejo Mayor Niel Tupas III told the Inquirer.
In Caticlan, Aklan, motorboats plying between Caticlan and Boracay Island were allowed to sail as of 10 a.m. yesterday, but were also limited to 75 percent of the maximum passengers allowed.
In Tacloban City, more than 500 passengers were stranded since December 25 while around 400 persons were evacuated from various areas in Leyte due to Quinta.
Records from the PCG stations in Maasin City in Southern Leyte and in Catbalogan City, Samar, indicated that 572 passengers were stranded since Christmas Day at various terminals.
The stranded passengers and rolling cargoes were reported in the ports of Allen in Northern Samar, Bato in Leyte, Liloan and Benit in Southern Leyte.
The stranded passengers were either bound for Cebu, Bohol or Lipata in Surigao del Norte.
In La Paz, Leyte, four families from the barangays Canbanez and Hinamuna were evacuated due to rising flood waters.
Also, 10 families in barangay Cangumbang and five families in barangay Tacuranga, both in Palo, Leyte, were evacuated to barangay halls due to rising flood water.
In St. Bernard town, Southern Leyte, at least three villages, Ayahag, Esperanza and Sug-angon, were also ordered evacuated Tuesday night for possible landslides.
A portion of the Maharlika highway in Barangay Kahupian, Sogod, Southern Leyte, has become impassable due to “soil collapse” caused by incessant rains, said Engr. Manolo Rojas of the Southern Leyte Engineering District (Sled).
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Admistration (Pagasa) has lowered all public storm warnings as tropical depression Quinta moved toward Palawan late yesterday afternoon.
In a bulletin Wednesday afternoon, Pagasa downgraded Quinta to tropical depression.
As of 5 p.m. Pagasa said public storm signal no.1 remains hoisted over: Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, Romblon, Lubang Island, northern Palawan, Calamian Group of Islands, Cuyo Island, Marinduque, in Luzon, and Aklan, Capiz, Antique, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, and Guimaras in the Visayas.
As of 5 p.m., Qunita was plotted about 80 km east of Coron, Palawan.
Quinta is seen to exit by Thursday the Philippine Area of Responsibility by Thursday evening.
Quinta is the 17th and perhaps the last storm to hit the country in 2012./INQUIRER