Fear from fake weather advisory grips Misamis Occidental | Inquirer News

Fear from fake weather advisory grips Misamis Occidental

Social media post warns of supposed massive flooding from overflowing lake on Mt. Malindang
/ 05:19 AM December 29, 2022

Fear from fakeweather advisorygrips Misamis Occ

ANXIOUS A mother takes her children to safety amid a second wave of flooding in a village in Oroquieta City on Monday. On Tuesday, a disaster scare gripped residents of Misamis Occidental province due to a fake weather advisory circulated online. —PHOTO FROM THE FACEBOOK PAGE OF OROQUIETA CITY MAYOR LEMUEL ACOSTA

OZAMIZ CITY—Already reeling from two days of heavy rains that spawned devastating floods since Christmas Eve, a “disaster scare” gripped the people of Misamis Occidental starting Tuesday afternoon as the death toll from the tragedy that hit parts of the Visayas and Mindanao rose to 25.

The culprit? A social media post packaged as a message of public concern supposedly based on an advisory from the state weather bureau that another wave of flooding must be expected by Wednesday.


The fake advisory spread like wildfire among the disaster-wary population that local government personnel in Ozamiz City counted over 400 people who spent Tuesday night at a designated evacuation.


What they wanted was a safe and peaceful sleep, several evacuees admitted.

Apart from continuing heavy rains, the fake advisory said the floods would come from the waters of Lake Duminagat, a freshwater lake on Mt. Malindang, located in the town of Don Victoriano.


Rainfall warning

The supposed disaster warning said the lake’s rock walls had cracked and could give way soon, hence unleashing massive volumes of water that would submerge the province.To allay the people’s fears, authorities put up an alert on social media by Tuesday night to warn the people about the fake information.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) issued an orange rainfall warning midday of Tuesday, covering, among others, nearby Zamboanga del Norte province, which could spawn floods and landslides. By Tuesday night, at 8:45 p.m. another orange rainfall warning covering Misamis Occidental was issued by the NDRRMC. For some, this advisory assuaged the fear of floods from Lake Duminagat. But for others, this reinforced the message of the fake warning.

The confusion was reminiscent of Christmas Day in 2011, a week after Tropical Storm “Sendong” (international name: Washi) devastated Mindanao, when people in the province were restless about a supposed tsunami that hundreds of families in the coastal villages of Ozamiz City sought shelter in the Catholic cathedral.

In Manila, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) on Wednesday said most of the 25 deaths were from Northern Mindanao region at 16. Five fatalities were from Bicol, while Eastern Visayas and Zamboanga Peninsula had two deaths each.

Search was under way for 26 people, mostly fishermen. Twelve of them were from Bicol, 11 from Eastern Visayas and the rest from Northern Mindanao and Zamboanga Peninsula.


Agricultural losses have been estimated at P63 million, while damage to infrastructure was pegged at P20 million.The NDRRMC said a “massive relief effort” was in full swing to assist flood victims.

Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr., the NDRRMC chair, said President Marcos was closely monitoring the situation in Misamis Occidental and other affected areas and had ordered the NDRRMC to continue providing all necessary assistance to flood-hit communities.

A total of P16 million worth of food packs and other assistance had been provided to victims in Bicol, Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao and the Bangsamoro region. —WITH A REPORT FROM FRANCES MANGOSING INQ


Power restored in parts of Misamis Occidental

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Floods drive thousands to shelters on Christmas

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