Tropical Storm “Quinta” left at least nine people dead and four missing in a sweep across the Visayan and Bicol regions that sent flash floods rampaging in the lowlands and tens of thousands fleeing to safer grounds.
The 17th and final storm of the Pacific season on Thursday blew out into the West Philippine Sea where weathermen said it was likely to dissipate, weakened by cold winds from the northeast monsoon.
As of midday Thursday, Quinta (international name: Wukong) was spotted 220 kilometers west of Puerto Princesa City in Palawan province, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.
Quinta hit Leyte province on Christmas Day with peak winds of 65 kilometers per hour and a rainfall span of 350 km from the center.
The death toll from Quinta included three people in the provinces of Eastern Samar, two in Iloilo, two in Capiz and one each in Aklan and Catanduanes, according to a list of fatalities compiled by Inquirer bureaus based on reports by civil defense, provincial and municipal officials.
The official toll issued by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Thursday was six dead and two missing.
Authorities identified the fatalities as Rodrigo Borsa, 55, his wife, Rosita, 50, and 7-year-old child Kenjie, all residents of Maydolong town, Eastern Samar; Warlito Lutero of Janiuay town and Arnulfo Bayotes of Barotac Nuevo town in Iloilo; Nilo Icawalo of Malinao, Aklan; and Jonarie Derecho, of Tapaz, Capiz, and Christian Olivar, 15, of Dumalag, Capiz.
The Borsa family were in their makeshift hut in the remote village of Del Pilar when a giant apitong tree fell on it around noon on Tuesday.
A 12-year-old child, Rodrigo Borsa, who was at the nearby makeshift hut, was injured and taken to Eastern Samar Provincial Hospital in Borongan City.
Derecho drowned when his motorcycle was swept away in a flooded area at Barangay (village) Switch, Tapaz, Capiz, said Esperedion Pelaez, the city’s action officer. Olivar drowned while crossing a swollen river in Barangay Santo Angel, Dumalag, Capiz, he added.
The lone fatality in Catanduanes was also a drowning victim—Aguido Tanael, 77, of Barangay Quezon, Baras.
In Eastern Samar, fishermen Joliver Casipung, 34, of Barangay Sabang North, Borongan City, and Julius Silvano, 36, of Barangay Macario in Merida town, Leyte, were reported missing.
Casipung has been missing since Tuesday when the motorized banca he and his companion, identified as “Junior,” capsized off Borongan due to heavy rains and strong winds. Junior was later rescued while he was holding on to a piece of styrofoam.
Two other persons were reported missing in Lambunao and San Miguel towns in Iloilo.
Quinta struck even as rescuers were continuing a search for some 800 still missing from Typhoon “Pablo” on Dec. 4, which left more than 1,000 people dead.
Up to 20 mm of rainfall
Benito Ramos, NDRRMC executive director, said Quinta poured 10 to 20 millimeters of rainfall per hour.
“That means Quinta brought a large volume of rainwater which caused rivers to swell. The mountains also could not hold the water, which flowed to the low-lying areas,” Ramos told the Inquirer. “Since it traveled slowly over Western Visayas, Quinta dumped more rains, which eventually inundated the towns.”
As of 5 p.m. Thursday, 23 municipalities in Capiz, Iloilo and Aklan were still under water, some as high as 12 feet, he said. “The floodwaters reached the roofs of some houses in Iloilo and Capiz.”
The NDRRMC said 1,093 families composed of 6,065 individuals remained in 18 evacuation centers and 9,286 passengers, 464 rolling cargoes and four vehicles were marooned in 11 seaports in Metro Manila and 10 other provinces.
In San Enrique town, 68 km northeast of Iloilo City, residents climbed rooftops as floodwaters rose on Wednesday evening.
“It’s like Typhoon ‘Frank’ but we have no reported casualties as of now because of the early evacuation of residents,” San Enrique Mayor Rosario Mediatrix “Trixie” Fernandez told the Inquirer.
Frank (international name: Fengshen) left more than 1,200 dead in June 2008. The dead included around 700 from the Princess of the Stars, a ferry which sank off Romblon province.
Fernandez said rescue teams could not reach around 20 families who did not evacuate on Wednesday afternoon. The mayor and her municipal employees were forced to stay overnight at the town hall where floodwaters submerged the building’s first floor.
At least 3,000 families from eight villages, mostly in the town center, were evacuated to schools, a gymnasium and church as water levels rose up to six feet, Fernandez said.
She called for food and water assistance for the evacuees.
In Passi, Iloilo, floodings hit 19 of the city’s 51 barangays, according to Mayor Jesry Palmares. At least 3,000 residents were moved to village halls, schools and the city’s gymnasium.
The mayor said there was no indication of flooding on Wednesday afternoon. “The water rose suddenly around 7 p.m. after almost two hours of downpour,” Palmares said.
Floodwaters also reached the city center, reaching chest-high levels in the public market. Portions of the national highway were impassable on Wednesday night, stranding bus passengers bound for Capiz and Aklan provinces.
Not as bad as Frank
In Iloilo, flooding was reported in the towns of Barotac Nuevo, Dingle, Duenas, Calinog, Lambunao, Janiuay, Alimodian, Anilao, Balasan, Cabatuan, Pototan, San Miguel, Barotac Viejo, Bingawan and Mina.
In Kalibo, the capital of Aklan, Libacao, Madalag, Malinao, Lezo, Numancia, and Banga, along the Aklan River, were inundated, said civil defense officer Galo Ibardolaza.
Floodwaters rose waist-high in some areas in Kalibo, which was among the most devastated areas when Frank struck on June 21, 2008.
Edwin Ramos, a photojournalist based in Kalibo whose family had to climb their rooftop during Frank, said the water on Wednesday was waist-high.
“It brought bad memories but we were thankful that the floods were not as bad,” Ramos told the Inquirer.
At least 3,116 persons, including 1,459 in Kalibo, were evacuated. The evacuees in Kalibo sought shelter at ABL Sports Complex, Pastrana Park and Aklan College. Most of them returned to their homes on Thursday, Ibardolaza said.
In Capiz, flooding hit mostly farmlands in the towns of Panit-An, Maayon, Sigma, Dumarao, Cuartero and Dumalag, according to the Office of Civil Defense (OCD).
Over 20,000 evacuated
The OCD reported that 1,914 families, or 11,008 persons, were evacuated in Western Visayas as of 8 a.m. Thursday.
Reports from Aklan, Passi and San Enrique in Iloilo alone placed the number of evacuees at the peak of the flooding to at least 15,000. Most of the evacuees later returned to their homes, according to officials.
In Cebu, the town of San Francisco on Camotes Island was the hardest hit by Quinta when it made landfall there at dawn on Wednesday.
The OCD reported that damage to houses, agriculture and livestock in the town was estimated at P3 million.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said 2,513 families, or 13,067 people, were evacuated to safer grounds in the towns of Polangui, Camalig, Malinao, Cagbulacao I in Bacacay and Jovellar.
“Blamed for the flooding was the continuous torrential rainfall of 19.8 mm for seven hours starting 9 p.m. last night or an accumulated 138.3 mm with the heaviest at 2-3 a.m. of 30.8 mm and 3-4 a.m. of 36.3 mm,” the governor said in a statement.—With reports from Nestor Burgos Jr., Joey Gabieta, Jhunnex Napallacan, Felipe Celino and Carla Gomez, Inquirer Visayas; Mar S. Arguelles, Inquirer Southern Luzon; and DJ Yap, Marlon Ramos and Jerry Esplanada in Manila
Originally posted at 5:23 pm | Thursday, December 27, 2012