By Imee Charlee C. Delavin

Flood damage cost hits P313.78 million as Agaton weakens

Posted on January 21, 2014

TROPICAL DEPRESSION Agaton (international name: Lingling) has weakened into a low pressure area (LPA), but more rains are still expected this week which could exacerbate flooding in portions of the Visayas and Mindanao, the state weather bureau said yesterday.

This, as the cost of damage due to the severe flooding and landslide incidents amounted to P313.78 million.

In its 4 p.m. weather update, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the center of the LPA was estimated at 400 kilometers (km) east-southeast of Davao City.

With this weather development, PAGASA has also lifted Storm Signal No. 1 in all areas previously affected by Agaton.

“The LPA is expected to bring moderate to occasionally heavy rains and thunderstorms over Northern Mindanao, Caraga, and Davao Region,” PAGASA said.

“Sea travel is risky over the seaboards of Luzon, Visayas, and Caraga region,” the state weather bureau added.

PAGASA said the regions of Caraga and Northern Mindanao will experience cloudy skies with moderate to heavy rains and thunderstorms which may trigger flash floods and landslides.

“The rest of Mindanao will be cloudy with light to moderate rain showers and thunderstorms. Visayas will have cloudy skies with light to moderate rains while Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated light rains,” PAGASA said.

The state weather bureau added that sea conditions throughout the archipelago will be rough to very rough with wave heights of up to five meters.

In a separate update, deaths due to the continuos downpour remained at 40, with six still missing and 65 injured.

The situation report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) yesterday said the tropical depression which reverted to an LPA has affected 140,423 families or 667,353 individuals.

A total of 700 barangays, 98 municipalities and 15 provinces in Northern Mindanao, Davao region, Caraga and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) have been affected by the continuous rains since last week.

The NDRRMC said 26,815 families or 129,123 people were displaced, and are being served inside the 394 evacuation centers opened by the Social Welfare department.

There were 16 landslide incidents, six flash floods and two maritime-related incidents triggered by the extensive raining, the national disaster council added.

As of 12 noon yesterday, the NDRRMC said a total of 5,506 passengers, 49 vessels, 536 rolling cargoes and 27 motor boats were stranded in Cebu, Dumaguete, Tagbilaran, Maasin, Ormoc, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Masbate and Surigao.

A total of 59 roads and 24 bridges are still not passable in Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region and Caraga.

The number of damaged houses due to the heavy rains is 1,787, of which 711 were completely destroyed.

The cost of assistance extended to affected individuals in Northern Mindanao, Davao region, Caraga and ARMM amounted to P59.14 million worth of relief goods.

The NDRRMC report said a total of 22 provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao has declared a state of calamity since last week due to the effects of the heavy rains.

Classes on all levels were suspended in both public and private schools in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley yesterday as rains continued to fall in these areas. The Davao Coast Guard Station has suspended all boat trips plying Sta. Ana-Talicud Kaputian route since Sunday.

Boats plying the Babak area including the barges will continue to operate but not later than six in the evening because of the heavy rains. Notwithstanding storm warnings, weather has been good in Davao City. It was cloudy, but there was no rain from morning till late afternoon yesterday. Cool temperatures prevailed at roughly 24 to 28 degrees Celsius at the city’s downtown area.

Contrary to the earlier warning that Agaton will make a landfall in Davao Oriental, Al Lumaad, the weather agency’s forecaster in Davao City, said that if Agaton does not change direction, it will possibly make a landfall in General Santos City.

Captain Alberto Caber, public information officer of the Eastern Mindanao Command, said 53 municipalities and 257 barangays in eastern part of the island have been affected by the typhoon, with 8,513 families already evacuated to safer grounds. As early as Sunday, motorists from Davao City going south had to turn back after the river in Barangay Inawatan and Barangay Astorga in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur overflowed.

In the north, Tagum City Mayor Akkan K. Rellon, who also heads the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, ordered the activation of the incident command post effective Jan. 19 in view of the coming storm.

Davao Oriental Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon asked her constituents to closely follow the instructions of local authorities especially during emergencies to avoid undue injuries and accidents.

She cited the case of the residents of Marayag in Lupon, Davao Oriental where 164 houses were destroyed due to flash floods but without casualty since the residents heeded the Philippine Army’s call for immediate evacuation. The provincial government earlier reported that Cateel was the most devastated town as houses were either submerged in flood, or were washed away. -- with a report from Carmencita A. Carillo in Davao City