Whirlwind topples 76 houses, destroys power line in Negros Occidental
BACOLOD CITY—At least 76 houses were destroyed Tuesday afternoon when a whirlwind hit five villages in Pontevedra town and another in adjacent Hinigaran town, Negros Occidental.
The whirlwind also toppled trees and power lines, plunging Pontevedra into darkness on Tuesday night, said Mayor Jose Maria Alonso.
As of posting, the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office was still collating the number of affected families.
Initial report showed that 62 persons had been evacuated in a public elementary school and 18 others were in a day care center in Barangay (village) San Isidro in Pontevedra.
Food assistance was delivered and evacuation centers were set up, said Alonso.
Worst hit in Pontevedra was Barangay Isidro where 55 houses were destroyded. Five homes were destroyed each in Barangays MH del Pilar, Miranda and Canroma and three in
Barangay Buenavista Gibong, according to Pontevedra municipal social welfare officer Terry Dimalalauan.
Also affected was Barangay Miranda in Hinigaran where three houses were destroyed. Miranda lies on the boundary of both towns.
Alonso said that except for one person who suffered slight injuries, there were no other reports of casualties.
Pontevedra Councilor Jimmy Gaban, civil defense deputy coordinator, said the whirlwind hit between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Tuesday.
Residents said it was drizzling when they heard a whizzing sound approaching before the whirlwind hit, he said.
He said the vertically rotating column of air was about 50 meters high.
They said the whirlwind must have lasted only about three minutes leaving devastation in its path, he added.
Houses, made mostly of light materials were flattened. Roofs were seen atop trees, leaving many families homeless for the night, Gaban said.
Mayor Alonso said toppled tress had to be cut using a chainsaw to clear pathways and that power had not been restored.
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