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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

“Yolanda” wreaks havoc in Bicol

CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur – More or less 145,059 families, corresponding to 708,464 persons, were displaced by super typhoon “Yolanda” in Bicol, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) 5 accounted.

OCD 5 Regional Director Raffy Alejandro’s report revealed that 104,825 of these families (533,673 persons) were from Albay while 9,177 families (42,956 individuals) were from Camarines Sur.

In Catanduanes, 390 families or 2,563 persons were displaced by storm surges while 2,317 families or 11,341 persons were brought to safety in Camarines Norte.

Masbate had 4,501 families (20,521 persons) displaced while 23,551 families (95,691 persons) were evacuated in Sorsogon.

Naga City, which was monitored separately from Camarines Sur by OCD 5, had 298 families or 1,719 persons evacuated.

Storm surge
Not all of the evacuees are expected to be able to return their homes today, especially in Camarines Sur and Catanduanes where hundreds of homes were partially or completely destroyed by storm surges.

Ramil Soliveres, spokesman of Catanduanes Provincial Government, said that the storm surge, which occurred at around 8 a.m. Friday at the height of “Yolanda’s” wrath in Bicol, completely destroyed 300 meters of the concrete seawall in Imelda Boulevard in Virac town, Catanduanes.  The seawall forms part of the Virac port, one of the main seaports of Catanduanes.

OCD 5 revealed that 30 houses were completely destroyed in Catanduanes.  29 of these were reported in Gigmoto town while one was in Pandan.

Another storm surge was also noted in the towns of Presentacion, Sagñay and San Jose, all in Camarines Sur, the OCD 5 report said.

120 homes in Presentacion were totally destroyed while 109 were partially damaged.   In Sagñay, 40 houses were partially destroyed while 10 were recorded partially destroyed in San Jose.

Captain Mardjorie Panesa, public information officer of Philippine Army’s 9th Infantry Division based in Pili, Camarines Sur, said that Army Task Group Sagip noted the occurrence of a tornado in Sitio Busaing, Barangay Homestead, Siruma, Camarines Sur.

She said that four houses were totally destroyed there.

Heavy rains also caused a landslide at the boundary between Lagonoy and Presentacion towns in Camarines Sur, she said.

No casualties were noted in both incidents.

Strong winds also caused six houses to be totally destroyed in Sta. Magdalena, Sorsogon, according to OCD 5.  The same gusts of strong winds also partially destroyed 46 houses in the same area.

At least seven were confirmed hurt in Bicol.

Panesa said that all of these were in Camarines Sur, with six in Barangay Sabang, San Jose where a storm surge caused waves to rise up and reach the coastal homes.

Rogeria Pagal, Jocelyn Cleodes, Jessica Farran, Edna Dadis, Alfredo Baranuelo and Raymundo Espanillo, all residents of the area, sustained minor injuries after they were hit by waves, said Bernardo. 

Reyna Bonifacio, resident of Barangay Colacling, Lupi, camarines Sur, suffered spinal injury after a coconut tree fell on her due to strong winds, the OCD 5 report also said.

Only one death was confirmed by OCD 5 attributed to “Yolanda” in San Jacinto, Masbate.

Police Officer 1 Haidelyn Arevalo, spokesperson of Masbate Provincial Police, confirmed that 16-year-old Enex Deinla died of electrocution while repairing the roof of their house Thursday afternoon while “Yolanda” was entering Philippine Area of Responsibility.

Another teenager was reported dead in Mercedes, Camarines Norte while on her way home from an evacuation center.

Marivic Alcazar, 17, was found dead by residents in Purok 4, Barangay Lanot, Mercedes, Camarines Norte after she supposedly drowned while crossing a river to her home at around 4 p.m. Friday, said Panesa.

Arnel Ferrer of Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) in Camarines Norte said that they are yet to confirm reports from Mercedes police that the victim drowned after leaving the evacuation center at the height of “Yolanda’s” wrath in Bicol.


Several main roads in Bicol were declared impassable by OCD 5.

In Catanduanes, roads in Caramoran, San Andres, Virac and Bato were either impassable or hardly passable.

The road leading to Prieto Diaz town, Sorsogon is only passable to light vehicles while the street connecting Lagonoy to Presentacion and two other roads within Presentation town proper in Camarines Sur were declared impassable.

Road clearing teams are now working on ridding the roads of fallen trees and other obstacles to make way for relief operation units to pass.    

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