'Kiko' death toll rises to 9

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 07 2009 12:02 PM | Updated as of Aug 07 2009 10:00 PM

2 Canadian mountaineers still missing in Pinatubo

MANILA - Two more persons have been reported dead on Friday, bringing typhoon Kiko's (international codename: Morakot) death toll to 9.

A report received by the Central Luzon regional police office said two male bodies have been retrieved by police retrieval and rescue teams in Sta. Lucia and San Agustin villages in Capas town, Tarlac province as of 11 a.m. Friday.

The regional police office also received a report that the foreign mountaineer found dead in the Pinatubo volcano area in Barangay Sta. Juliana, Capas was female.

Police also recovered the body of Fidel Reyla, a village watchman earlier reported as a guide of a group of Canadian and Korean mountaineers that were trapped at the Pinatubo area at the height of typhoon Kiko.

The latest body count brought the typhoon's death toll to 9.

Senior Superintendent Nestor Gergonia, Baguio City Police Office chief, said brothers Michael, 13; Edu, 12; and Chris, 7, all surnamed Piska, died after their home in Camp 8 along Kennon Road was hit by a landslide at 12:30 a.m. Friday.

Rescuers have retrieved the bodies of the victims.

Zambales Governor Amor Deloso, meanwhile, said his office received a report Friday morning that a couple died in a flashflood that hit Botolan town late Thursday. Deloso said the couple's bodies have been found. He said teams have been dispatched to confirm the report.

Botolan Mayor Roger Yap said the town's council has placed the town under a state of calamity.

Yap said 10 villages have been submerged in 4-foot to 5-foot deep floods after the Bucao River overflowed late Thursday. The villages were Paudpod, San Juan, Batonloc, Carael, Tampo, Paco, San Miguel, Binig, Bangan, and Capayawan.

Undersecretary Anthony Golez, spokesman of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), said the heavy rains were caused by the southwest monsoon and enhanced by the typhoon.

Golez said more than 1,800 people have been evacuated from the 10 flooded villages in Botolan. He said the affected villagers were evacuated in three centers in a nearby town.

Rescue operations continue

The Central Luzon police said rescue operations continued Friday noon for 2 missing Canadian mountaineers. Joint military and police rescue teams have already rescued 3 Koreans and 9 Canadian nationals, the regional police said.

Lt. Col. Gerry Samudio of the Philippine Air Force said two Huey rescue helicopters have also been dispatched to locate the missing mountaineers. The rescued mountaineers were being transported to Clark in Pampanga.

Samudio said the rescue operations were launched after they received a distress call about a group of foreigners trapped in the Pinatubo area on Friday morning..

As of 11 a.m., typhoon Kiko was located 350 kilometers north northeast of Basco town, Batanes province, packed with maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometers per hour and gustiness of up to 210 kph.

It was moving west northwest at 156 kilometers per hour.

Weather bureau PAGASA has hoisted storm signal No. 1 over Batanes, northern Cagayan, Apayao and Ilocos Norte.

The weather bureau has also spotted a low pressure area near Northern Luzon. It said the typhoon and the low pressure area will bring more rains over Luzon and Western Visayas.

200-meter landslide blocks highway boundary

Rains dumped by the typhoon also triggered a big landslide at a boundary along the highway of Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya provinces Thursday night, creating a 10-kilometer vehicular traffic jam.

Mayor Florante Gerdan of Sta. Fe town, Nueva Ecija said the 200-meter landslide affected a boundary area of Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya.

On the Nueva Vizcaya side, he said the affected area was Sta. Fe, while on the Nueva Ecjia side, it was Carranglan.

He said a truck was buried by the landslide.

As of 9 p.m. Thursday night, it caused a 10-kilometer traffic jam on both sides of the road, which he projected to worsen on Friday.

Gerdan said the landslide cannot be cleared yet due to continuing rains. There were around five other landslides in Nueva Vizcaya, he added.

In Brgy. Putlan, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija,  Thursday afternoon, police officer Johnny Navarro of the Philippine National Police Tactical Operations Unit said the landslide on both the sides of the road had stranded all vehicles in the area.

Navarro said Carranglan, being mountainous, is prone to landslides during rainy weather.

He said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) would address the problem by grading the affected area.

Navarro said that, according to DPWH, the area could be passable by 3 p.m. Friday.

He added that there is difficulty in coordinating with people from Carranglan because there is no electricity in the area due to the disaster.

"Their cellphones and radios are not charged, it is so hard to get information," said Navarro.

Other barangays in Nueva Ecija were not affected by the landslide, but there is difficulty going to Nueva Vizcaya as roads in Brgy. Putlan are leading to the province, said Navarro.

As of posting, there were no reported deaths of injuries from the landslide in Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya. With reports from Venus Tanada, ABS-CBN Baguio; Jenny Reyes, ABS-CBN News; Noel Alamar, radio dzMM; and Maria Althea Teves, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak