MANILA, Philippines - Torrential floods swept away a Philippine Army patrol base in Compostela Valley, leaving at least 43 people dead as super typhoon “Pablo” slammed the Visayas and Mindanao yesterday.
Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, Army 10th Infantry Division spokesman, said the bodies of 42 civilians and an Army soldier were recovered from the patrol base in New Bataan.
More than 50,000 people crammed into nearly 1,000 evacuation centers across Mindanao by early yesterday, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
A report from Davao Oriental said six people also died in the province and six others in the town of Mabini, Compostela Valley.
Two other fatalities were also reported in the Caraga region. They were identified as Erlinda Balante, 60, of Manay, Manti, Davao Oriental, and Roger Gumunit, 30, of Pana-on, Misamis Oriental.
The NDRRMC said Balante died after a coconut tree fell on their house, while Gumunit was pinned by a tree uprooted by the storm.
Four fishermen were reported lost off Mindanao’s east coast while another man, identified as Juanito Poblo, was also missing in Leyte, which was pounded by heavy rains as of yesterday afternoon.
Packing winds of 175 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 210 kph, Pablo made landfall over Baganga, Davao Oriental at around 4:45 a.m. yesterday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.
As of 4 p.m., storm warning signal no. 3 was hoisted over northern Palawan, including the Calamian Group of Islands, Bohol, Siquijor, southern Cebu, Negros Oriental, southern Negros Occidental, Iloilo, Guimaras, Antique, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental and Zamboanga del Norte.
Signal no. 2 remained up over the rest of Palawan, Aklan, Capiz, the rest of Cebu including Camotes Island, the rest of Negros Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Agusan del Norte, Bukidnon, Lanao del Sur, Zamboanga del Sur.
Signal no. 1 was hoisted over Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Leyte including Biliran, Southern Leyte, Surigao del Norte including Siargao, Surigao del Sur, Dinagat, Agusan del Sur, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, North Cotabato, and Maguindanao.
PAGASA lifted storm signals in other areas as Pablo slightly weakened after making a landfall.
As of as of 4 p.m. yesterday, the eye of the typhoon was spotted at 60 km southeast of Dumaguete City with maximum sustained winds of 160 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 195 kph. It was forecast to move west northwest at 24 kph.
PAGASA said Pablo would continue to dump heavy to intense rain (10 to 18 millimeters per hour) in areas within its 500-km radius.
Weather forecasters said Metro Manila would experience rains starting tonight due to the enhanced northeast monsoon.
Transmisson service provider National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has reported numerous power outages as it continued to monitor and inspect transmission lines and other facilities affected by the typhoon.
As of 2 p.m. yesterday, the NGCP has restored power in the Palanas Cara-Catarman 69-kilovolt line that tripped past 8 a.m. resulting in power outages for customers of the Norhern Samar Electric Cooperative.
A major part of Caraga region was also without power yesterday after electric companies decided to cut power supply as Pablo toppled trees and knocked down power lines.
The province of Agusan del Norte, including its capital city and Caraga’s regional center Butuan City, was totally without power as of 2 p.m. yesterday after the Agusan del Norte Electric Cooperative cut power due to strong winds and heavy rain.
Dinagat Island also suffered total power outage while only a small portion of Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Sur had electricity.
Radio stations in the whole region were forced to go off the air due to power outages.
The Compostella Valley, Davao Oriental and Bukidnon were also affected by the power outage.
Telecommunications and power lines were also down in many
areas of Davao Oriental.
Governor Corazon Malanyaon said they were having a hard time establishing communication with several coastal towns in her province. She said they were able to evacuate to safer grounds
residents in low-lying areas and those near the coast even before
Pablo made landfall.
Malanyaon said cut off from direct communications as of 2 a.m. yesterday were the towns of Boston, Cateel, Baganga, Caraga, Manay and Tarragona. The same areas were without power as of press time.
Tens of thousands flee homes
Malacañang said yesterday there was no more room for complacency in times of calamities since both the government and the people had learned from past experiences.
As of 6 a. m. yesterday, at least 8,283 families or 41,608 persons have been evacuated in Regions 8, 10, 11 and 13 due to the onslaught of Pablo.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said President Aquino was given regular updates on the weather situation by concerned agencies.
“Let us not be complacent. Let us keep our guard up, the lead time is there precisely to allow us to make sure that our preparations will hold,” she said.
The Office of Civil Defense in Butuan City reported that more than 60,000 individuals or over 12,000 families in Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur moved to government evacuation centers Monday night after heavy rains battered large areas of the provinces.
In Davao Oriental, close to 60,000 people were affected by the typhoon.
In Misamis Oriental, some 1,750 families or over 7,000 individuals took shelter in the province’s various evacuation centers after floodwater submerged their homes.
The typhoon prompted airline operators to cancel 134 flights to Mindanao and the Visayas, and one bound for Hong Kong.
Flag carrier Philippine Airlines cancelled 12 flights to Davao, as well as its Manila-Tagbilaran-Manila flights. Pending succeeding weather bulletins, all other PAL flights remain normal.
AirPhil Express also cancelled 46 flights, including one bound for Hong Kong from Cebu. The cancelled flights were bound for Caticlan, Cagayan de Oro, Dumaguete, and flights to Ozamiz, Butuan, Cotabato, Dipolog and Surigao, all from Manila, and from Cebu to Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, General Santos, Iloilo, Kalibo, Legazpi, Ozamiz, Pagadian, Puerto Princesa, Surigao, Tacloban and Zamboanga, and the Caticlan-Cebu.
Cebu Pacific Air had 64 cancelled flights, Zest Air has 10, and SeaAir cancelled its Manila-Davao-Manila flights.
The civil defense office said more than 3,000 ferry passengers were stranded after the Philippine Coast Guard ordered vessels to stay in port.
Schools were shut in Mindanao and across large areas of the country’s central part with some of the classrooms turned into evacuation centers.
Classes in all five provinces in Caraga Region as well as work in government offices were suspended temporarily starting yesterday.
Private and public schools in Southern Mindanao, including Tagum City, Panabo City, Island Garden City of Samal, Kapalong, Caraga region, and Carmen in Davao del Norte also had classes suspended.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte ordered the suspension of classes from pre-school to high school after storm signal number 3 was hoisted over the city.
Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat also ordered classes in all levels suspended effective 11 a.m.
In the Visayas, classes were also suspended in the provinces of Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros Occidental and Oriental, Cebu, and Leyte including its capital cities.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said that as of yesterday morning close to 3,000 people have been left stranded in 16 different seaports in the country.
PCG spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said a total of 2,960 people are temporarily staying in various seaports, mostly passengers waiting at the ports of Manila.
The PCG also received information that 267 rolling cargo vessels, 132 vessels and 61 motorboats were barred from sailing while nine vessels and one motorized boat have taken shelter in Leyte and Samar.
Balilo said that the PCG in the areas affected by Pablo have been on heightened alert and continuously monitoring the effects of the weather disturbance.
Red Cross to help victims
Staff and volunteers of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) are on stand-by to assist victims of typhoon.
PRC chairman Richard Gordon said the agency’s local chapters in affected areas have set up first aid stations and welfare desks in 71 evacuation centers where hot meals were also provided to displaced families.
Gordon said the International Committee of Red Cross, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and partner national societies have committed to support the PRC’s relief efforts to augment the impact of the typhoon.
With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Evelyn Macairan, Edith Regalado, Jen Ponsaran, Ben Serrano, Jigger Jerusalem, Rudy Santos, Roel Pareño, John Unson, Celso Amo, Lalaine Jimenea, Sheila Crisostomo, Neil Jerome Morales,AP