FIFTEEN people were buried alive in multiple landslides that occurred during the onslaught of typhoon “Rosita” in the Cordillera region.
In Natonin, Mountain Province, eight bodies were pulled out from mounds of rock and soil after a landslide hit a Department of Public Works and Highways Provincial building during “Rosita.”
The landslide trapped around 20 persons, prompting a massive search-and-rescue operation, Cordillera Police Regional Office director Chief Supt. Rolando Nana said yesterday.
Those trapped inside the building were a DPWH contractor, a project engineer, several security guards and local residents who sought refuge in the building at the height of the strong winds and heavy rains brought by the typhoon.
Provincial officials said six people were rescued alive from the rubble. They were brought to the nearest hospital for treatment.
The search for the others is ongoing.
Nana said he was informed that the DPWH 2nd District building located in Bgy. Sacrang in Natonin, Mountain Province was covered by a landslide and that initial information showed that there were about 20 persons inside the building when it was covered by rocks and loose soil.
He said that as of Tuesday afternoon, police had difficulty reaching the area due to landslides that covered the road.
Officials have requested the military to send Air Force helicopters and more rescuers.
Nana said that another landslide in Batad, Banaue, Ifugao killed a family of four identified as Baltazar Pinnay, 48; and his children Rexibelle,11; Rhezel, 10; and Rydnell, 8.
The bodies of the four were retrieved by volunteers on Tuesday.
The official said they also received reports that on the same day, a landslide swept a house in Bgy. Mabilong, Lubuagan, Kalinga killing 5-year-old Sotera Guiwagiw Galo while her mother Charity was rescued and is undergoing treatment at the Lubuagan District Hospital.
Another landslide in Sitio Arnukan in Bgy. Alunogan also in Natonin, Mountain Province killed Jeffrey Nangaowa, 40, whose body was recovered by rescuers past 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
Nangaowa was walking on way home when he was struck by a landslide.
Stephen Wangdali, 22, a laborer from Villaverde, Nueva Viscaya, was in a vehicle parked in Sitio Fotay, Silangan, Barlig, Mountain Province past 12 noon on Tuesday when the vehicle was covered by a landslide.
Responding policemen and civilian volunteers are yet to recover the victim’s body as of press time.
Meanwhile, Mike Saleo-an, a 30-year-old resident of Sitio Pomangwao in Banawe, Natonin was carried away by strong water current while crossing the Furon creek at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
Saleo-an was one of the civilian rescuers who were on their way to the nearby Sitio Harang to rescue families trapped in a landslide when he met his tragic death.
Strong winds and heavy rains also badly hit Dinapigue, Isabela around 4 a.m. on Tuesday as police, military and civilian rescuers prepared for a massive search, rescue, relief and rehabilitation in areas affected as the typhoon made its landfall in Northern Luzon.
Dinapigue Mayor Reynaldo Derije said his town was isolated after “Rosita” made its landfall in their area, toppling power and communication lines and flooding at least six villages and heavily-damaging some road networks and bridges.
Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde has already ordered all Northern Luzon-based police regional units to be ready for all possible search, rescue and relief operations in their areas in anticipation of typhoon “Rosita.”
PALACE EXPRESSES CONDOLENCES
Malacañang yesterday condoled with families of the victims who died from a landslide that buried the Department of Public Works and Highways building in Natonin, Mountain Province.
“The Palace wishes to express its deep condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims who perished in Natonin, Mountain Province, when the Department of Public Works and Highways building was covered by a landslide, along with others who died due to the typhoon,” Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
Panelo said: “Efforts to look for survivors are currently ongoing and we pray for the rescue of those still trapped or missing.”
He said President Rodrigo Dutere is closely monitoring the situation of areas affected by “Rosita” (international name: Yutu), which hit Northern Luzon since Tuesday morning.
A data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said “Rosita” affected a total of 11,878 families or 38,398 persons in 478 barangays in Regions I, II, III, and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
A total of 8,864 families or 32,519 persons were pre-emptively evacuated from their houses.
“The President has directed all government agencies to immediately respond and undertake measures to help the victims and families and to rehabilitate the typhoon ravaged areas, including the clearing and repairing of roads that have become inaccessible or impassable,” Panelo said.
With Efren Montano and Zaida delos Reyes