7 dead, wide area under state of calamity Week-long rains in Caraga trigger floods; 7 dead

Seven persons were killed and another was reported missing as heavy rains induced by a cold front continued to batter a wide area of Northeastern Mindanao triggering flooding and landslides.

Thousands of residents were misplaced by the floods while infrastructures and agricultural crops were destroyed.

Damage to infrastructures and other properties were initially placed at P31,302,290 while damage to agriculture crops was estimated at P10,214,168 at press time.

At least one city, Bislig, and 40 towns in the Caraga region have been placed under a state of calamity.

Four of the fatalities were on board a motorized cab which was hit by landslide at 7:30 p.m. Thursday along the road of Gangas, Sitio Gumawas, Barangay Mangagoy, Bislig City. They were not immediately identified.

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) reported only five persons died and one was missing due to the floods as of Friday afternoon.

The OCD identified some of the fatalities as Zacarias Gales, 33, of Barangay Pisaan, San Francisco, Agusan del Sur; Veronica Pepoy, 51, of Barangay Nueva Estrellia, Cagdianao, Surigao del Norte; and Roland Yamyamin, 31, of Barangay Aurora, Surigao City.

Missing was Gerome Goliath, 22, of Purok 6, Barangay Sungkoy, Kitcharao town, Agusan del Norte.

Director Abner C. Caga of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in Caraga region reported that 17 towns in Surigao del Sur have declared they were under state of calamity due to widespread damage to agricultural crops and infrastructures caused by severe flooding.

Also placed under state of calamity were nine towns in Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte and seven towns in Dinagat Islands province because of destruction caused by strong sea waves, winds and rains for almost a week now.

The city of Surigao was also declared under a state of calamity on Thursday.

The disaster council in Agusan del Sur also reported that the towns of Sta. Josefa, Veruela, Rosario, Trento and Prosperidad were declared under a state of calamity yesterday as the said areas were battered by severe flooding that destroyed several houses, agricultural crops and infrastructures.

The Department of Education in Agusan del Sur also reported that classes in several public schools in the province were temporarily suspended due to flash floods.

Two towns in Agusan del Norte – Nasipit and Jabonga -- also declared under a state of calamity.

Chief Supt. Jaime E. Milla, Police Regional Office 13 (PRO 13) director and chairman of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC), and Regional Director Dr. Blanche T. Gobenciong of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) reported that 531 houses were partially destroyed while 106 houses were totally wiped out by the rampaging floodwaters.

Director Gobenciong said that at least 40,477 families or about 178,198 persons were already affected by flash floods and landslides in the Caraga region.

RDCC chairman Milla has ordered disaster and rescue councils to conduct a round-the-clock monitoring, rescue and relief operations.

"All police headquarters and stations spread all over the region were already mobilized to assist the evacuees," added Milla. (Mike Crismundo/MB)

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