One dies, 1,000 families evacuate, fishing boat sinks due to heavy rains PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 October 2017 16:05

By LIZA JOCSON and DAN TORIBIO

 

A man died while 1,000 families were evacuated, and a fishing boat sank off Tictabon Island during the height of heavy rains and flooding in Zamboanga City yesterday.

Areas affected include barangays in far flung areas of Zamboanga’s east and west coasts, particularly in the Labuan and Vitali areas.

Labuan Barangay Captain Oning Maravilla identified the fatality as 65-year old Sonny Tadiari Panglima who died from drowning.

Tajari Panglima, who is an Imam, was taken away by the giant waves while he was trying to save their belongings.

His body was retrieved by rescuers and was brought to the hospital but was declared dead on arrival by attending physicians.

City Social Welfare Development Office (CSWDO) spokesperson Ivan Salvador said that a total of 500 families from the east coast and 496 families from the west coast have sought shelter in designated evacuation centers in both areas as of press time yesterday.

District I Congressman Celso Lobregat said that houses located in several west coast barangays were destroyed due to a storm surge.

Some of the barangays affected by the storm surge include Maasin, Patalon and Labuan.

The Patalon bridge was also destroyed, according to Lobregat.

The storm surge affected a five-kilometer length of coastline which stretched along five puroks in Labuan.

Maravilla said that huge waves started coming in as early as 2am Sunday and destroyed the structures located in puroks 1 to 5.

He added that around 1 a.m. when residents of Labuan woke amid the giant waves taller than a one-storey house that hit the seawall and their houses.

A large portion of the concrete sea wall was destroyed because of the strong waves and hundreds of houses were washed away along Purok 4 and 5 of Labuan.

He added that as of 2 p.m. yesterday, a total of 500 families were already  rendered homeless and were taken to the evacuation center in Labuan.

Meanwhile, aside from the houses  that were damaged, several motorized pumpboats owned by the residents were also taken away by the huge waves.

The storm surge yesterday was reportedly worse than the 2007 incident which also destroyed several houses in the area, based on an assessment made by Maravilla.

Meanwhile, hundreds of victims in the Vitali district fled to safety due to floods and heavy rains.

Structures, including houses and the barangay's elementary school, were submerged by floods brought about by heavy rains.

Strong rains started to batter the city at around Sunday midnight and continued until afternoon of the same day.

Meanwhile, a fishing boat named F/B SM with 30 fishermen and crew was taken by the strong waves to Tictabon in Sacol Island from Sta. Cruz Island where they were fishing.

The boat captain identified as Sonny Matulac of Talon-Talon told newsmen that they were in Sea of  Sta Cruz  Island when they notice that their fishing boat was slowly sinking that prompted them to abandon their boat and transfer to their “bote”

Matulac said they were already aboard their “bote” when their fishing boat totally sank.

Personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard immediately rescued the 30 fishermen and they were safely brought to the PCG headquarters.

in Vitali, all the Sitios in the said barangay were flooded including the elementary and high school in Vitali proper as well the ricefields and fishponds.

District 2 councilor Mike Alavar was the first city official to arrive in Vitali and he personally led rescue operations to those affected families.

Jose Marie Bartolome, was bitten by a poisonous snake while he was trying to save his family inside their house.

Bartolome was rushed to the hospital for treatment.

The Parish Church of Vitali was utilized as the temporary evacuation center.

Most of the residents who were trapped inside their house were complaining that they did not yet take breakfast as of 2 p.m. after they failed to cook their foods since the flooding started as early as 2 a.m.

The city government has assured that affected families housed in designated evacuation centers that it will continue to provide necessary assistance.

 

The city government through its CSWDO has provided foodstuff, coffee. Milk, sugar and other personal necessities of the evacuees. (Liza Jocson and Dan Toribio)