Davao Oriental village washed away by floods

By Jaime Laude, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 16 2014 02:30 AM | Updated as of Jan 16 2014 10:30 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The entire village of Marayag in Lupon town, Davao Oriental was destroyed by a landslide caused by heavy rains induced by a low-pressure area in Mindanao since the weekend.

Even as the weather improved considerably, several towns in the province remained isolated until yesterday, officials said.

This developed as the number of fatalities from the floods in the Davao region, particularly in Caraga, increased to 26 yesterday, with three drowning in Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur.

Regional disaster officials said they were verifying reports that five other people perished in Davao Oriental.

Most of the dead came from Compostela Valley province with five and Davao Oriental with eight. Seven others are still missing – four buried in a landslide that hit Barangay Diwata, Monkayo and two in another landslide in Barangay Bango, Compostela town.

“The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in Compostela Valley is still validating reports submitted by the Department of Health provincial office that 10 persons died from the widespread flooding and landslides,” Office of Civil Defense (OCD) regional director Loreto Rirao said.

Rirao said the number of affected families in Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental went up to 31,062 or 152,276 people who now staying in and outside 92 evacuation centers.

Davao Oriental Gov. Corazon Malanyaon said the towns of Baganga, Cateel, Boston, Lupon and several others remained isolated as of yesterday due to collapsed bridges caused by overflowing river channels.

“Weather has already improved but a number of villages and towns remain isolated because the bridges were destroyed by overflowing rivers. While we have sufficient food packs and relief goods, we are now having difficulty delivering these to the displaced residents. A navy ship delivered relief goods to Baganga,” Malanyaon said.

She said the entire poblacion of Barangay Marayag in Lupon was literally wiped out by landslides during widespread flooding that also hit the nearby villages of Tagugo and Macangao.

“All the structures there – houses, public and private buildings – are now buried by huge boulders and tons of mud. It’s just like what we saw in the aftermath of Typhoon Pablo in Barangay Andap in New Bataan town two years ago. It’s really scary, there’s no more structures left standing in the village, only boulders,” Malanyaon said.

The provincial government is now coordinating with the Mines and GeoSciences Bureau to find a safe place to relocate the residents of Barangay Marayag.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), on the other hand, augmented the supply of relief goods to local government units for distribution to the thousands of families affected by massive floods.

The DSWD has issued some P6 million worth of relief goods to bolster those of LGUs whose supplies have run out.

The LGUs that declared a state of calamity included Butuan City and Bislig, in Surigao del Sur; the towns of San Francisco, Sta. Josefa, Esperanza, Veruela and Sibagat in Agusan del Sur and the towns of Lingig and Tago in Surigao del Sur.

The island province of Dinagat, where six people have perished in the heavy rains and floods, earlier declared a state of calamity.

Damage estimate of the widespread flooding in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley is still being assessed, while Davao del Norte lost some P10.1 million in infrastructure excluding agriculture.

In Caraga region, Office of Civil Defense regional director Liza Masa said that as of yesterday, a total of 24,800 families or 114,768 people in 176 barangays were affected by flooding and landslide, while 10,159 families from the total affected population are displaced in 180 evacuation centers in five provinces and Butuan City.

“A total of 13 persons were reported as casualties due to landslide and river crossing, three of whom are still missing from the provinces of Surigao del Norte and Agusan del Sur, while the remaining 10 persons were reported dead from Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands,” Masa reported. – Evelyn Macairan, Rainier Allan Ronda, Ben Serrano, John Unson