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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tropical Storm Mario Leaves Swath of Destruction

Tropical storm “Mario” (international name: Fung-Wong) exits the country via the Luzon Strait tonight, but only after massively wreaking havoc as it intensified the “habagat” (southwest monsoon) since Friday, paralyzing road networks up north, flooding much of Central Luzon and Metro Manila, and plunging various areas in darkness all the way down to Southern Tagalog and Bicol.
At least seven people have been killed, local authorities reported.
In Region 1, Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur experienced Mario’s rains and winds, which toppled electric posts and rendered the whole of both provinces groping in the dark since Friday.
Thousands of commuters were stranded as thoroughfares in Ilocos Norte, particularly the national highway in Candon City, were submerged in flood and impassable to vehicles.
The province is preparing to declare a state of calamity as roads were being cleared of debris yesterday and the impassable Tabug Bridge in Batac City, threatened by overflowing water.
Gov. Imee Marcos said agricultural damage was massive, particularly to rice and onion farms and that the worst-hit towns were Pinili, Badoc, Paoay and other bay areas.
In Ilocos Sur, Governor Ryan Luis Singson reported that all roads in the upland towns, particularly the Suyo-Cervantes Road were impassable due to a landslide and fallen tree branches.
The Ilocos Sur Electric Cooperatives (ISECO) was scrambling to restore electricity in the province.
In Pangasinan, rescue and relief operations by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) continued as floods plagued Dagupan City, Manaoag, San Fabian and paralyzed the road networks connecting the province with the rest of the region.
Floods were not expected to subside just yet as water coming from the mountains of Benguet, via the Sinocalan River, was on its way, PDRRMC Spokesman Avenix Arenas reported to Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr.
Nine areas have been placed under a state of calamity – Calasiao, Sta. Barbara, Umingan, Laoac, Mangaldan, San Manuel, Natividad, and Dagupan City, Arenas added.
The only relief is that the water level at San Roque Dam as of noon yesterday stood at is 272.7 meters above sea level (masl), way below the normal level of 280 masl.
In La Union, the Luna Sports Center sheltered thousands of residents from six submerged villages.
Luna Mayor Victor Marvin Marron  said evacuation was still ongoing as of yesterday in Barangays Napaset, Rimos 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Earlier, residents were evacuated in the villages of Nagrebcan, Salcedo, Rissing, Napaset and Barangobong, all in the low-lying town of Luna where rains have not ceased since Friday. 

In the Cordillera Administrative Region, the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) reported 263 families or 1,157 individuals were forced to evacuate their landslide-prone homes in Apayao, Benguet, Mountain Province due to strong winds and rains since Friday afternoon.
A total of 128 people evacuated the area of the City Camp Lagoon, in Baguio City as flood waters rose while Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwa ordered the forced evacuation of 52 families in landslide-prone areas in Tublay, Tuba, and La Trinidad towns.
The OCD also said that Kennon Road was closed due to landslides and falling rock. There were also reported rockfall on Halsema Highway.
In Abra, Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin reported a big damage in agriculture and infrastructure due to Mario’s onslaught, while a number of families were evacuated from dangerous areas in Tadian, Mountain Province.
Mario left a swath of destruction in Central Luzon, submerging at least 48 villages in six towns and two cities of Bulacan, Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said.
Under flood water were 11 villages in Meycauayan City; six in San Jose del Monte City; eight in Calumpit; seven each in Sta. Maria and Obando towns; six in Marilao; and three in Bocaue.
Rescue teams were deployed by the governor to Calumpit and Hagonoy as these areas expected the cascading of water from higher areas of the neighboring provinces of Pampanga and Nueva Ecija.
“Both Ipo and Bustos Dams have released excess water… that will cascade down to these towns,” Sy-Alvarado said.
As of yesterday, the water elevation at Ipo Dam was 101.00 meters (spilling level 101 meters) while the water level at Bustos Dam was 17.55 meters (spilling level 17.70 meters).
Relief supplies to thousands of families have been deployed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Region 3 (DSWD-3).
OCD Region 3 Director Josie Timoteo said evacuees in Bulacan, Tarlac, Zambales and Nueva Ecija have been provided family food packs such as sardines, eggs and noodles, and mineral water to augment their meals at least for week or until they go back to their own homes.
Timoteo said supplies were distributed to at least 622 families in Moncada and Paniqui in Tarlac who were housed in some schools; and another to 400 families in Palauig, Sta. Cruz, and Castilejos in Zambales. 

In Cavite, six fishermen miraculously survived the habagat onslaught in the high seas off Rosario town by swimming to shore in Bacoor after their boats capsized.
Father and son Rio and Ricky Pradas and one Joseph Perez of F/B (Fishing Boat); Carla Niña and Dominador Garcia, 65, his son Mario, 23, and one Eboy Estores of F/B Prince Jay-Ar, all of whom were reported missing Friday were found alive yesterday.
Lady luck was also smiling at 13 passengers and crew members of “MV Gloria 10,” which capsized in waters off the coast of Monreal and San Jacinto, Masbate, last Friday while enroute to Pilar, Sorsogon.
Chief Inspector Renato Ramos said habagat caused big waves that battered the ferry around 11 a.m., three hours after leaving the Masbate wharf.
Monreal Municipal Police Station and Philippine Coast Guard personnel were quick to move and reach the victims, rescuing all of them.
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