Baguio City, 2 Cordillera provinces still isolated

Posted at 10/10/09 5:31 PM

MANILA - Major access roads to Baguio City remained closed on Saturday, keeping the city isolated and hampering the delivery of additional relief goods for its residents displaced by floods and landslides caused by tropical depression Pepeng (international codename Parma).

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Cordillera reported that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has so far cleared the Baguio-side of the Naguillan Road as of 11 a.m.

Clearing debris from a larger part of the road or the Benguet-Naguillan-La Union stretch would take more days, the OCD said.

ABS-CBN Baguio correspondent Pia Gutierrez said Benguet and Mountain Province, which were also hit by deadly landslides during Pepeng's onslaught, have also been isolated.

Other access points to the three areas, including Kennon Road and Marcos Highway, also remained clogged with mud and debris from the floods.

The DPWH reported that there was a 25-meter stretch on Marcos Highway impassable due to landslides.

Gutierrez reported that several affected residents feared that food supplies would run out if Baguio City and the two provinces remained isolated.

The death count from Benguet, Mountain Province and Baguio City has climbed to more than 220.

Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwan earlier told ANC television that 148 bodies have been confirmed killed in landslides that hit several parts of the provinces. He said majority of the bodies were recovered from Little Kibungan, Barangay Puguis, where 34 houses were buried by mud and boulders.

The OCD-Cordillera said 62 people have also been confirmed killed by landslides in Baguio City and 19 more in Tadian town in Mountain Province.