‘Vinta’ rampages through Mindanao; 28 die
At least 28 people died from landslides and flooding in Mindanao in the wake of Tropical Storm “Vinta” (international name: Tembin) that made landfall on the island on Friday.
Authorities feared the number could swell as more people remained trapped underneath debris from landslides while a number of people, swept by raging floodwaters, remained missing.
Thousands more were unable to return to the comforts of hearth and home just days before Christmas Day because of bad weather.
Vinta made landfall in Davao Oriental province at 1 a.m. on Friday with gusts of 125 kilometers per hour, bringing torrential rain, the state weather office said.
In the two Lanao provinces, at least 26 people were confirmed dead on Friday.
Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said 10 people were killed and 11 others were injured when landslides hit the stretch of the road that connected the towns of Madalum, Tugaya, Kalawit and Balindong in Lanao del Sur.
In Maigo, Lanao del Norte, two bodies swept by floods from nearby Munai town were recovered, according to Dr. Charles Marquez, rural health officer of Maigo.
In Salvador town, two persons were confirmed to have died in the floods but the town planning officer, Rodel Maghinay, said he also got reports that up to 20 others had died in the raging waters.
One fatality was recorded in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur. Jino Agapay Lacaza, 29, died after he was swept by strong current while gathering wood near a river on Friday.
In Valencia City, a landslide buried four houses killing an elderly woman, said the city’s civil defense officer.
Close to 30,000 people were either stranded in ports or were staying in evacuation centers due to choppy seas and flooding.
Some 22,000 people fled or were evacuated to safer ground because of widespread flooding in several provinces in Mindanao, including Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte.
Stranded in airports and ports in Manila, Cebu and Mindanao were more than 6,000 passengers.
The Manila North Harbor had the biggest number of stranded passengers at 1,500, followed by Pier 1 in Cebu City with 1,333 and Dapitan Port with 1,030 passengers, according to the Philippine Coast Guard.
Twenty-one flights were canceled at Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Friday, mostly to or from provinces in Mindanao and the Visayas.
In Davao Oriental, where the tropical storm had made landfall at Cateel town, about 15,000 people were evacuated.
Among those evacuated were residents of two villages, near an irrigation dam.
In Banaybanay town, five people died when a fire broke out at a boarding house for gasoline station workers amid heavy rains around 2 a.m. on Friday.
Two fishermen were also reported missing in San Isidro town, said Karen Deloso, Davao Oriental information officer.
In Compostela Valley, at least 5,086 people were evacuated to safer ground in the towns of New Bataan, Montevista, Nabunturan, Maragusan, Mabini, Mawab and Compostela.
The towns were among areas heavily devastated by Typhoon “Pablo” (international name: Bopha) which also made landfall in Davao Oriental in December 2012.
A bridge in Maco town was slightly damaged by floodwaters, while landslides were reported at two villages in Monkayo.
In Surigao del Sur, floods affected 5,000 families at the towns of Lingig, Hinatuan, Tagbina and Tago, according to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
In Davao del Norte, some villages of Kapalong and Carmen towns were also under water.
Flash floods rendered roads leading to the interior of Sta. Josefa town in Agusan del Sur unpassable to all motor vehicles, according to the local disaster response council.
The swollen Simulao River flooded three villages in Trento town.
In Lanao del Sur, Zia Alonto Adiong, spokesperson for the provincial crisis management committee, reported that floods submerged villages in the towns of Ditsaan-Ramain, Bubong and Buadiposo-Buntong.
“We are appealing to National Power Corp. to open the sluice gates in Agus 1 and the regulatory dams in Marawi City (to ease the flooding),” he said.
The body of a man was recovered in Barangay Tibanga in Iligan City.
In Cagayan de Oro City, 1,719 people living near the Cagayan de Oro and Iponan Rivers were evacuated.
At least three bridges in the city were closed to traffic after the water level of Cagayan de Oro River continued to rise on Friday morning.
In a bulletin issued 5 p.m. on Friday by the weather bureau, Vinta was forecast to be 195 km south-southeast of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, by Saturday afternoon.
The weather in areas affected by the storm is expected to improve on Christmas Day, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.
Vinta is expected to be out of the country by Christmas Day. —REPORTS FROM JULIE ALIPALA, FRINSTON LIM, CHRIS PANGANIBAN, DIVINA SUSON, RICHEL UMEL AND JIGGER J. JERUSALEM IN MINDANAO, JAYMEE T. GAMIL, JEROME ANING AND JULIE M. AURELIO IN MANILA, AND AFP
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