Massive Zambo flooding leaves 3 dead, 1 missing PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 October 2013 13:27

Continuous rains spawned by intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) triggered widespread flashfloods in the city displacing almost 3,000 families and ravaging infrastructures and agricultural crops.

Three persons including a 17-year old boy were reported dead while another one remains missing due to rampaging waters. The boy, Roel Patrociño, a second-year student at the ZSCMST was reported missing Sunday after he went swimming at the Tumaga river. His lifeless body was recovered yesterday in the waters off Arena Blanco.

Two women perished in a flashflood that hit Armor Village, San Jose Gusu at dawn yesterday.

The fatalities were identified as Edwina Flores and her housemaid Rosana Fabilo. Their bodies were recovered only yesterday afternoon.

Report reaching Daily Zamboanga Times disclosed that residents of Armor Village and San Roque fled their homes after observing their places were going under water at early dawn. However, Flores and Fabilo who were about to leave their house were swept away by raging flood water.

Two landslide incidents were also reported in Lanzones and Malagutay but there were no casualties. Several riprap, hanging bridge and other infrastructures of the city and national government were also damaged at the height of the flashfloods yesterday morning.

The body of Patrocino who was swept away by raging water while swimming at the Tumaga River last Sunday, was recovered in Arena Blanco yesterday.

Four houses in Pasonanca were destroyed and swept away by raging flood water yesterday morning.

Three of the four affected houses were located near the PNP training camp while the fourth was located near the motor pool in Luyahan.

Four other houses in Ayala were also destroyed and swept away by the flood water.

Several other barangays went underwater due to the continuous rain that has been battering the city since Saturday.  Among them are San Jose Gusu, Talon-Talon, San Roque, Canelar Presa, Sinunuc, Recodo, Tugbungan, Boalan, Putik and Tetuan.

Seriously affected is Tugbungan where 300 families have been evacuated. Next is San Jose Gusu where almost 100 families abandoned their homes due to rising flood water.

Commercial flights were cancelled because the runway of the Zamboanga Airport is underwater. Several vehicles were stranded along the highway connecting Zamboanga City and Zamboanga Sibugay yesterday morning after two landslides took place in Licomo and Upper Tungawan.

District 2 Councilor Mike Alavar, who rushed to the site, said that many vehicles coming from Sibugay and vice versa were temporary stranded as a portion of the road was covered with rocks and mountain soil.

However, Alavar said the road was immediately cleared of debris after officials of Zamboanga City and Sibugay sent equipment and personnel to do it.

The highway returned to normal state and became passable for all motor vehicles after two hours of clearing.

Mayor Beng Climaco convened the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) noontime yesterday to assess the situation as well as discuss interventions for the affected families.

The body approved to recommend to the City Council the declaration of a state of calamity in the city and to recommend the subsequent release of calamity funds for assistance.

The five-day incessant rains with occasional strong winds battered the city since Friday, October 4 affecting 22 barangays—mostly low lying areas that include Ayala, Baliwasan, Boalan, Calarian, Curuan, Divisoria, Lansones, Maasin, Malagutay, Pasonanca, Putik, Recodo, San Jose Gusu, San Roque, Sinunuc, Sta. Maria, Tetuan, Tugbungan, Tumaga, Vitali, Zambowood and Talisayan.

A total of 2,869 families with a total of 8,848 individuals were registered to have been displaced as of 12noon yesterday. They are spread out in a total of 30 evacuation centers set up in the affected barangays.

In agricultural crops, City Agriculturist Diosdado Palacat reported a total of 4,983 hectares of rice and cornfields, vegetable farms and fishponds and seaweed farms were affected based on initial assessment. Cost of damage is yet to be ascertained.

Airport operation was also suspended until 9pm yesterday due to flooding on the runway and shut down air navigation equipment.

Early yesterday morning, Mayor Climaco ordered the suspension of classes in all levels-both public and private, as well as called off work in all government offices- local and national due to flooding.

She likewise urged barangay officials to utilize their 5% calamity fund and to mobilize resources to assist their displaced constituents.

The mayor lamented that the city is undergoing another challenge caused by natural calamity even as it barely took off from the recent Zamboanga crisis perpetrated by the lawless elements affiliated with Nur Misuari. “This is another crisis but we should remain strong and united in confronting all these trials and challenges”.

The widespread flashfloods started dawn yesterday that caused City Administrator Antonio  Orendain Jr. to dispatch rescue teams to the flooded areas as early as 3am. Rescue efforts were done in coordination with the Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxilliary, Bureau of Fire Protection, Edwin Andrews Air Base, Red Cross, City Engineer’s Office-General Services Office, Aleson Shipping Lines, Task Force Zamboanga-Army-PNP and some private contractors. — Sheila Covarrubias andDan Toribio Jr.