Rains, winds kill 1, flood 8 barangays PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 26 September 2015 15:06

By Sheila Covarrubias and Dan Toribio Jr.

Heavy and continuous rains and strong winds pounded Zamboanga City Friday, September 25,  killing one person and temporarily displacing more a less a hundred families, as the intense downpour coupled with strong winds flooded streets and low lying areas as well as uprooted trees in a number of barangays.

As this developed, teams from the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) in coordination with the Coast Guard and other responders were dispatched to different areas to respond to rain-related incidents and at the same time assist victims.

The lone fatality, 50-year old Dexter Basa of Sinunuc was pinned to death when an uprooted tree crashed on his truck in Caragasan, Barangay Maasin around 10 a.m. Another incident of uprooted tree was reported in Purok 7, Pasonanca that collapsed on two houses made of light materials. 3 house occupants were wounded during the incident.

Chief Insp. Hingming Ladjaali,  Sinunuc Police Station chief, Basa was driving a Bongo type Kia truck delivering bottled water in Maasin when an old kapok tree collapsed and crashed on his vehicle due to  lashing wind amid heavy rains.

Police said Basa was trapped inside the truck for several minutes. Rescuers yanked him out of  the truck but he was already dead.

In Pasonanca, a 74-year-old man sustained minor injuries in his body when an old Gmelina tree collapsed on their house at Km. 7, Pasonanca at dawn yesterday.

The old man and his wife  were sleeping amid heavy downpour and strong wind when the tree crashed on their house.

The couple was trapped inside their house but were immediately rescued by their relatives.

Initial reports from the CDRRMO command center showed that flooding and/or evacuations were recorded in barangays Putik (specifically Marcos Drive, Caputatan, Morning Breeze and Sto. Nino) Pasonanca, Sinunuc, San Jose Gusu, San Roque, Calarian, Tugbungan and Talon-talon. More or less 20 families sought refuge in residences of their relatives; 50 families evacuated to the San Jose Gusu Elementary School; 5 families evacuated to the Putik Elementary School and 49 families evacuated to the Talon-talon barangay hall from Luntong Drive as of 5pm Friday.

CDRRMO head Elmeir Apolinario, Ph.D. said response teams with rubber boats and other equipment or gears were deployed to areas reported to be under water to evacuate those affected to safer and higher grounds.

Chainsaws provided through the General Services Officer under Engr. Rene de la Cruz were used to cut/remove obstructions caused by uprooted trees.

Mayor Beng Climaco through Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde has tasked City Health officer Rodel Agbulos and City Social Welfare Officer Socorro Rojas to provide medical assistance and packed meals as well as relief goods to the affected families.

She said directed the CDRRMO to closely coordinate with other response teams from other agencies to ensure prompt assistance to those affected and ultimately ensure the protection and safety of lives and properties.

The heavy downpour has caused the increase of water level at the diversion dam of the Zamboanga City Water District in Pasonanca to as high as 75.74 meters, way above the normal level of 74.20 meters. The increase in the dam level affected water service in some areas due to high turbidity and reduced water production at the old reservoir and non-operation of the Dumalon water system. Water trucks were dispatched to affected areas.

The Philippine Coast Guard-Zamboanga station also suspended travel of all passenger and cargo vessels Friday morning due to the heavy rains but lifted the suspension effective 4pm the same day to improving weather and sea condition within the Zamboanga Peninsula and Sulu sea area.

Damage to crops and farm lands has yet to be determined by the City Agriculturist Office.

Meanwhile, the CDRRMO reiterates its advice to people residing along riverbanks as well as coastal and low lying areas to temporarily seek higher and safer grounds as the weather situation remains abnormal. Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (BDRRMCs) in coordination with the police are likewise tasked to continuously monitor the situation in their area of jurisdiction and to be the first responders in cases of emergencies.

Apolinario said response teams will continue to be on standby 24/7.

The CDRRMO command center can be reached through telephone numbers 926-9273-74 or cellphone numbers 09177113536. PNP hotlines are 062-117 or 991-5656. — Sheila Covarrubias and Dan Toribio Jr.