Zambales death toll reaches 31
MANILA, Philippines - Some 31 people have already died from floods and landslides triggered by the southwest monsoon, most of them buried alive in landslides in Zambales.
1Lt. Yvonne Ricaforte, Army 24th Infantry Battalion civil-military operations officer, said 28 people died in landslides in four barangays in that province. Nineteen were from Subic town.
Twelve bodies had been recovered in Barangay Wawandue near Barangay Cawag, while seven were retrieved in Barangay San Isidro in that town, Ricaforte said.
Authorities also recovered four bodies in Barangays Aglao and Balanawan in the municipality of San Marcelino.
Five other bodies were retrieved in Barangay Malaybalay in Castillejos town.
The dead included Brian Bueno, Jenalyn Bueno, John Bueno, Seanly Bueno, Charlyn Bueno, Merlyn Ednalaguim, Ian Dimalanta, Ryan Ecujardas, Kian Ecujardas, Rolly Ecujardas, Jesal Ecujardas, Jesal Bacos, Danilo Cuanan, Juvelyn Cuanan, Daniela Cuanan, Doray Cuanan, Daniel Cuanan, and Joshua Ytak.
In Olongapo City, a strong current swept away Herminegilda Macaraeg, while David Jimenez drowned in floodwaters in Bataan.
In Castillejos, 84-year-old Botec Cabalic died of hypothermia.
Speaking to reporters, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director Eduardo del Rosario said the failure of residents to move to safer places caused the death of these people.
“These areas are high-risk areas,” he said. “Our countrymen were advised to relocate already or resettle, but the problem is because of their financial consideration, they could not relocate and transfer to new sites. In this incident, they did not evacuate immediately despite the warning.”
Voluntary pre-evacuation must be made in disaster-prone areas to prevent loss of lives, Del Rosario said.
The Office of Civil Defense Central Luzon said 10 people were reported missing due to the southwest monsoon.
NDRRMC said the southwest monsoon has affected a total of 18,231 people or 3,751 families in 60 barangays. Of this number, 11,169 people or 2,388 families were taken to evacuation centers.
In Laguna, scores of families in barangays around Laguna de Bay were evacuated after days of heavy rains caused waters of the 90,000-hectare lake to overflow. No casualties have so far been reported.
Los Baños Mayor Caesar Perez told The STAR the families were taken to evacuation centers.
The low-lying barangays of Tadlac, Bambang, Malinta, Mayondon, and Bayog at the southwestern rim are usually affected when the lake overflows.
In Bataan, floodwaters one foot to more than seven feet deep submerged at least 57 barangays after the heavy rains. These are barangays in the towns of Dinalupihan, Hermosa, Orani, Samal, Abucay and Orion and the city of Balanga.
As of yesterday, the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) said 4,268 families or 19,745 people were affected. Some 172 families were taken to five evacuation centers.
A 75-year-old man, David Jimenez, of Barangay Magsaysay in Dinalupihan town drowned after a heart attack at the height of the floods on Monday morning.
In Samal town, floods rose to more than seven feet in Barangay San Juan.
In Abra, the 53-year-old wife of a barangay chairman went missing after a boat ferrying 10 people capsized in the Abra River in Bucay town Monday night.
Mary Torres Loy along with 10 others, including her husband, swam their way out from the strong currents of the Abra River.
Police said the Torres couple and other passengers were crossing the river when the boat’s engine suddenly stopped. Abra River is one of the five largest rivers in the country.
Heavy rains and strong winds last Sunday and Monday have affected 14,167 families or 62,228 people in 127 barangays in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Calabarzon region, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
The DSWD has earmarked P2 million more in disaster response funds for Central Luzon to increase funds of the local governments.
Of the affected families, 5,155 or 22, 819 people remain in 104 evacuation centers.
Metro Manila has 841 families or 3,802 people staying in 21 evacuation centers.
Central Luzon has 35 evacuation centers with 1,497 families or 6,409 people.
Calabarzon has the most number of evacuees with 2,817 families or 12,608 people in 48 evacuation centers.
The DSWD and concerned local governments have given the evacuees hot meals and food packs.
A total of P768,134 in assistance has been given to the affected families. – With Rudy Fernandez, Ric Sapnu, Artemio Dumlao, Rainier Allan Ronda