‘Usman’ death toll still rising

January 01, 2019
Storm Usman

THE death toll from landslides and floods triggered by  tropical storm Usman had as of yesterday reached 75 as government and civilian workers continued their search-and-rescue efforts in areas ravaged by what authorities described as the second deadliest weather disturbance to hit the country in 2018.

Search operations were yesterday still underway in Sagñay, Camarines Sur where police, military and civilian volunteers were still looking for possible victims trapped under landslides which buried scores of residences, said Police Regional Office 5 director Chief Superintendent Arnel B. Escobal.

The National Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that 12 persons were injured as a result of Usman’s wrath which also displaced 30,469 families composed of 128,982 persons in 321 barangays in Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol and Eastern Visayas regions.

Of the total, 3,619 families or 14,144 persons are still staying in 112 evacuation centers.
A total of 92 road sections and three bridges in Regions 4-B, 5,6 and 8 were reportedly affected although 28 roads were also reported as already passable.

Bicol region was hardest hit by the storm after flooding and landslides badly hit some areas in the region which has already been placed under a state of calamity to speed up the flow of aid and keep under control prices of basic commodities.

Dead retrieved

Since Sunday afternoon, 15 bodies have been retrieved by rescue workers of the Municipality of Sagñay, Camarines Sur at eight of eleven sites of landslides in this locality, after the high ground at the Sagñay-Tiwi Road cascaded down burying houses along the national highway with soil and huge boulders Saturday evening.

Nonato Panoy of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (MDRRMC) reported that 15 dead residents were recovered at sitio Igot, Barangay Patitinan until late Sunday, but retrieval operations were stopped due to heavy rains.

Panoy said the toll may increase to 50, after about 10 houses were reported covered by landslides occupied by 30 residents living in the area of Sitio Garang, also in Barangay Patitinan.

Six persons who survived gave accounts of the landslide on Saturday evening. They escaped death by covering themselves with sleeping mats, Panoy reported.

Bicol death toll.

Despite its weak winds, tropical depression Usman brought continued rains for four days in a wide area of the Bicol region causing landslides and floods, regional director Claudio Yucot of the Office of the Civil Defence (OCD) Bicol had reported.

Yucot said they initially recorded 19 deaths in Camarines Sur, 15 in Albay, 7 in Masbate, 6 in Sorsogon and 3 in Camarines Norte province.

In a special session on Sunday, the Albay Sangguniang Panlalawigan and Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara declared a state of calamity for the entire province due to damages in infrastructure, agriculture and loss of lives from floods, landslides. The province declared a state of calamity for the second time this year, the first during the Mayon eruption last February.

Camarines Sur Gov. Miguel Luis “Migz” Villafuerte also declared through his facebook account and approved by the C. Sur Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution No. 836, a state of calamity for the province. The governor is reportedly on a Christmas vacation abroad.

The OCD identified the fatalities from “Usman” in Albay as: Mylene Dacudo, 10; Angelyn Bobis, 6; Rolly Clerico, 42; Ignacio Gabriel, 11; Bobit Nimrod, 36; Climaco Sarita, 52; Mark Angelo Simbulan, 50, all victims of a landslide in Tiwi, Albay.

Reported killed in Tiwi town were Ruben Convinsido of Barangay Bariit; and family members of Redel Consulta, 45, Jasmin, 7, Arnin 10, all surnamed Consulta, who all died in a landslide in Barangay Maynonong also in Tiwi, Albay.

Drowning victims in Legazpi City were Nina Loreto, 20; Mauro Alegre, 26; and Marco Alegre, 3.

Initial casualties were also reported by the OCD in Masbate province. Among those identified were Susana Celeste, Mina Cainding and Rosan Cainding; in Claveria, Masbate, reported dead were: Juan Francisco Ingante; and Estilena Etillera, Madelene Catalinan, and Jun Larsa, all from Mobo, Masbate.

While in Sorsogon province, the fatalities were: Angelina Gerona, 91 of Palades, Bulan town; Gerald Baladeras, 14; Gilbert Disuña, 22; Dominador Esquebel and Franklyn Oliveros, all of Bacon district, Sorsogon City.

In Baao, Cam. Sur Congress Majority Floor Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. gave burial assistance and relief to Benjie Delima, after Delima’s wife Babelyn, 29, and children Gelyn, 14; Jonnel, 12; Benjie Jr., 10; and Prince Jersy, 4 months old, perished in a landslide in Barangay Antipolo, Baao town.

Andaya also gave relief to 600 evacuees in Buhi, Camarines Sur, which have remained isolated by floods from the rest of the Rinconada district of the province. 

With Sonny Sales