27 dead, 15 missing in Davao flash flood

Posted at 06/29/2011 10:01 PM | Updated as of 06/30/2011 12:58 PM

DAVAO, Philippines (4rd UPDATE) - The death toll from a flash flood that caught Davao City residents by surprise Tuesday night has now climbed to 27.

Five barangays have also been placed under a state of calamity.

As the local government assesses the damage, the search for the 15 people who are still missing continues.

Weather bureau PAGASA, meanwhile, warns of even more rains in the coming days.

Local officials and residents said the rains began around 10 p.m. Tuesday, with the Balusong river overflowing its banks that led to flashfloods in 4 barangays.

While some residents were able to evacuate in time, many were caught unprepared.

The latest bodies to be found were those of 16-year-old Keizl Tanio, who was seen floating on the bay in front of a resort in Punta Dumalag, and 1-year and 8-month old Rogelio Valderosa from Matina Pangi.

One resident, Rene Ayag, blamed himself for the death of his 3-year-old son Kenneth. His daughter, Rachel, is also missing.

Rogelio Alvarez, meanwhile, is still in a daze after 2 of his children drowned.

Elsa Balderosa, on the other hand, lost her mother who was trapped in their home.

The floods have affected 12,410 families.

Many families until now have chosen to stay in evacuation centers for fears of another flashflood.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte said the city needs flood-control projects but they lack money.

"Last night [Tuesday], we did not expect (floods) to be that high. We expect that it is normal for that river to overflow in some portions," she said.

"But last night [Tuesday], all areas were flooded. It (river) overflowed to a height of 10-15 meters," Duterte said.

Members of the 911 Urban Search and Rescue Unit used rubber boats to rescue residents trapped in their homes.

Elements of the Regional Public Safety Battalion, Philippine Air Force, and Coast Guard also helped in the rescue operations.

The local government designated the Central Park Gym in Bangkal and GSIS gym in Matina as temporary evacuation shelters.

Science and Technology Undersecretary Graciano Yumul said an isolated thunderstorm caused the heavy downpour.

"What happened is that 8 mm of rain fell for a 2-hour duration so that is classified as heavy. It was an isolated thunderstorm embedded in the intertropical convergence zone... Isolated thunderstorm, biglang bumubuhos at biglang nawawala," he said. - With reports from Francis Magbanua and Rodirey Salas, ABS-CBN Davao; and ABS-CBN News Channel