At least 6 dead after Vicky onslaught: officials

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 20 2020 08:14 AM | Updated as of Dec 20 2020 10:46 AM

At least 6 dead after Vicky onslaught: officials 1
People push a half-submerged tricycle through a flooded street due to heavy rains caused by Tropical Depression Vicky in San Francisco town, Agusan del Sur on Friday. Erwin Mascarinas, AFP

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Tropical depression Vicky left at least 6 dead in Leyte and Agusan del Sur as it inundated the southern Philippines ahead of Christmas, officials said Sunday.

Three people were reported dead in Mahaplag, Leyte, said national disaster council spokesman Mark Timbal.

Another 3 died and 1 was reported missing in Agusan del Sur, said Gov. Santiago Cane.

All victims were from San Francisco town and died from drowning, Cane said. Two had attempted to cross a river and a third forced his motorcycle to cross a flooded highway along with his wife who was rescued, he said.

"Lahat po ng calamities dito sa'min ay year-round po namin pinaghahandaan. The kind of rain we had the other day was quite strong, very heavy, naka-red warning na po kami (we were under a red alert warning), very rare yan mangyayari (it's very rare to happen)," Cane told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(We prepare for calamities here year-round.)

"Ang baha namin dito is an ordinary thing, but not that kind of baha na it happened so quickly dahil sa heavy downpour."

Low-lying towns and those near Agusan River remain "underwater," while floods have subsided in towns near the highway, Cane said.

"Itong nangyaring baha ay sa mga (The floods hit) municipalities along the national highway. 'Yung tubig talaga malakas ang buhos ng ulan, almost 24 hours of nonstop heavy rainfall. Flashflood yun, ang bilis tumaas pero ang bilis din naglaho," he said.

(The rainfall was very heavy, it was almost 24 hours of nonstop heavy rainfall. You can call it a flashflood, when water quickly rose and then subside.)

The provincial government will convene on Tuesday to discuss the declaration of a state of calamity, according to the governor.

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Floodwaters reached roofs of houses in hardest hit San Francisco and Rosario towns, said Darwina Ligan, chapter administrator of Philippine Red Cross in Agusan del Sur.

"Ang Agusan del Sur ay nabigla po, lalong lalo na yung 2 municipalities - 'yung San Francisco atsaka Rosario. Talagang unexpected yung water," she said.

(Agusan del Sur was hit by unexpected waters, especially the towns of San Francisco and Rosario.)

"Umaapaw na yung water bigla, hanggang roof ng mga bahay. Nagulat lahat ng tao kaya hindi nahandaan. 'Yung mga tao ang mga gamit nila, basa lahat."

(Water reached roofs. Everyone was shocked and unprepared. All of their belongings were submerged.)

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Vice President Leni Robredo said on her weekly radio program that a team from her office arrived in Rosario, Agusan del Sur on Saturday and talked to the local officials for their needs.

"Inaasikaso natin ang relief operations doon. At magpapadala tayo ng isa pang representative, kasi nabalitaan namin na yung Bislig (City sa Surigao Del Sur), grabe din. So pupuntahan nila yun ngayong umaga," she said.

(Relief operations there are being prepared. And we will also send a representative to Bislig City this morning because we learned that it was also badly hit.)

"Nung Friday evening, habang binabaha, kausap natin yung ibang mga mayors at saka yung ibang mga congressmen, kasi tinatanong natin ang sitwasyon on the ground," she added.

(While flooding was happening on Friday evening, we were already talking to some mayors and congressmen there, because we are asking about the situation on the ground.)

Robredo learned that in Rosario town, nine barangays were hard-hit, with three having reported landslide incidents.

"As of yesterday, may tatlong barangays na hindi pa napupuntahan ng staff namin dahil mataas pa yung tubig. So, hopefully ngayon, mas mabuti na yung sitwasyon," she said.

(As of yesterday, there were three barangays that our staff couldn't penetrate because of the flood. So, hopefully now, the situation is already better there.)

She said her office is already talking to suppliers in the area for their relief operations.

Palawan, where Vicky made landfall Saturday, also experienced heavy rainfall but minimal flooding, said Gov. Jose Alvarez.

Some 90 families from Pag-asa Island were evacuated as a precaution, he said.

"Wala masyadong baha dito sa atin dahil puro tayo mga isla, so ang tubig diretso lang sa dagat, except sa mga lugar na mababa," he told TeleRadyo in a separate interview.

(There wasn't much flooding here because we're made up of islands so the water just goes to the sea, except in low-lying areas.)

"Wala naman masyadong pinsala dito. Di masyadong malakas ang hangin, malakas lang ang buhos ng ulan."

(There wasn't much damage. The wind was not that strong but there was heavy rainfall.)

Timbal said initial reports show that 5,994 families from Regions 7, 9, 10, 11 and Caraga were affected by the impacts of Vicky, many of whom from the last two regions were evacuated due to the flooding.

Region 11 and Caraga recorded 10 incidents of flooding and 7 incidents of landslides, he said.

In Region 7, 83 houses were reportedly damaged - 62 totally and 21 partially, the official said.

"Ang nakita natin dito, hindi umabot sa national level of management dahil naging maagap ang ating mga local government, sa pakikipagtulungan sa mga regional disaster councils natin diyan sa kaMindanaoan and the Visayas," said Timbal.

(We saw here that there was no need for national level of management because our local governments promptly took action with the help of our regional disaster councils in the Mindanao and the Visayas.)

"Bago pa kasi naging bagyo itong si Vicky, LPA pa lang siya, nagsimula na po ng paghahanda for evacuation and response yung ating mga LGUs," he added.

(Before Vicky became a storm, when it was still an LPA, preparations were already made by our LGUs for evacuation and response.)

The country's 22nd storm is forecast to leave the Philippine area of responsibility between Sunday afternoon and evening as a tropical storm, PAGASA said in its 5 a.m. bulletin.

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