MANILA - A state of calamity has been declared in five towns in Zamboanga del Norte as of Monday afternoon after they were battered by Typhoon Vinta days before Christmas.
Mayor Onesimo Coma of Gutalac town earlier declared a state of calamity because of the damage brought by the storm, where several roads and bridges were covered with mud.
Barangay Mamawan and Canupong are still impassable due to landslide and damaged bridge in Barangay Canupong that connects the road from Gutalac to the towns of Baliguian and Siocon.
In Gutalac alone, 21 people drowned while 7 others are still missing.
Initially 200 houses were totally damaged and 33 partially damaged.
“We had warned the residents before the typhoon hits our place, [we] asked them to evacuate but they never listened,” he said.
Authorities continue with the search and retrieval operations today along the riverbanks from Barangay Mamawan down to the coastal area in Barangay San Juan.
Meanwhile, 14 bodies were recovered in the town of Salug, where a state of calamity has also been declared. Eight of these cadavers were laid in the municipal hall after their homes were washed out by the flood.
Three other people remain missing according to latest reports.
About 80 houses in Salug town were totally damaged and 11 more were partially damaged.
In the afternoon, a state of calamity was also declared in the towns of Labason, Siocon, and Leon Postigo as the death toll in the province rose to 71 and dozens remain missing.
Eleven individuals died in Sibuco town and 28 are missing. In Siocon, 7 were dead and 3 were missing. Another person died in Leon Postigo town.
Fatalities were also recorded in the towns of Liloy (7), Baliguian (6), and Sirawai (4).
Vinta intensified into a typhoon early Sunday after hitting Mindanao as a tropical storm, triggering mudslides and flash floods in several areas that have left at least 200 dead and scores of others missing.
It left the Philippines around noon.
- with reports from April Rafales, Dynah Gay Diestro and Ernie Manio, ABS-CBN News