At least 40 killed in typhoon’s path

Posted on December 5, 2012


Typhoon Pablo yesterday barreled across the country’s south, killing at least 40 people, including army soldiers who were en route to assist in rescue efforts.

More than 50,000 had to flee from flooded villages.

The death toll was expected to rise once soldiers and police gain access to some far-flung villages isolated by floods, fallen trees and downed communications, said Benito Ramos, executive director of the National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRMMC) and administrator of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD).

A passenger vessel was also reported missing in Central Visayas

Pablo slammed into the Davao region at dawn, its ferocious winds ripping roofs from homes and its 500-kilometer-wide rain band flooding low-lying farmland. The storm, packing winds of 160 kilometers per hour (kph) and gusts of up to 195 kph, toppled trees, triggered landslides and sent flash floods surging across the region’s mountains and valleys.

Davao Oriental Gov. Corazon Malanyaon said four persons were confirmed dead while 24 others were feared to have also been killed in the province.

“This is very depressing,” she said.

Among the first casualties was a five-year-old child, who was killed when a tree fell on their house in Tarragona town in Davao Oriental at

Emmalyn Oliveros of the Davao Oriental disaster council identified the casualty as Errol Lintuan, whose house in Sitio Madian, barangay Tubaon was hit by a tree felled by strong winds.

An Associated Press dispatch also reported that an elderly woman was killed in Davao Oriental when her house was struck by a tree felled by howling wind.

As of 2:39 p.m., the Davao Oriental disaster council already placed 856 families in evacuation centers, from the coastal towns of Lupon, Baganga, Caraga, San Isidro, Boston, Manay and Tarragona.

Oliveros said electricity and communications in the towns of Boston, Baganga and Cateel were cut off and that they were trying to get information in the area through other sources. He said they have been experiencing brownouts since Monday night which worried them because they had no power generators.

In the gold-mining province of Compostela Valley, the fierce wind and rain forced a wall of mud and boulders to cascade down on a house, killing three children. Their bodies were wrapped in blankets by their grieving relatives and placed on a basketball court in Maparat village.

“The only thing we could do was to save ourselves. It was too late for us to rescue them,” said Valentin Pabilana, who survived the landslide.

At least 34 people were reported dead last night after a flash flood raced down a mountain in Andap town, washing away an army truck in New Bataan, according to Compostela Valley Governor Arturo Uy and military officials. Among the casualties were soldiers who were assisting in the evacuation of villagers.

Uy said the victims’ bodies were retrieved at 5:30 p.m., an hour after rescuers arrived in the area.

“It was totally unexpected,” Uy said, adding that the water reached what supposed to be safer ground where the barangay hall and the health center were located. He said one of the 20 soldiers trying to assist the evacuees was also killed, and another one was hurt.

“We never expected the water to be that strong, the rescue team was only able to enter the area at 4:30 pm,” he said.

Authorities halted mining operations in the province and ordered villagers to evacuate to prevent a repeat of deadly losses from landslides and the collapse of mine tunnels seen in previous storms.

A man died when a tree knocked him down while he was traveling on a scooter on a road in Misamis Oriental province.

In Siquijor island, a 23-year-old man died after a coconut tree fell on him while he was driving a motorcycle in Lazi town while a search and rescue operation was underway for Delta 1 and its six crew members on board.

Reports monitored by VHF radio from the Philippine Ports Authority office in Larena, Siquijor, said they lost contact with the Delta 1 as the vessel took shelter in Sabang, Siquijor, after big waves spawned by typhoon Pablo kept slamming the boat against the pier.

Monet Raymundo, operations manager of Delta Fastferries Corporation, said they were still verifying the report but confirmed that they had lost contact with the vessel, skippered by Capt. Neil Abe. Raymundo said they were looking forward to proceeding to Siquijor upon getting clearance from the Philippine Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard has banned all seacraft from sailing to and from Dumaguete after Negros Oriental was placed under storm signal number 3.

A storm surge as high as six meters hit the shorelines of Catanduanes, preventing passenger vessels from docking in the Virac port, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Bicol said. M/V Eugenia, a passenger vessel plying the Virac-Tabaco routes, was forced to return to Tabaco City in Albay due to the big waves battering Virac port in Catanduanes. /AP and Inquirer

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