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Order to evacuate high-risk areas ‘didn’t reach some barangays’

By: Melissa Q. Cabahug, Peter L. Romanillos January 03,2015 - 08:17 AM

Storm warnings were given a day before typhoon Seniang made landfall in Sibonga,  south Cebu on Dec. 30.

The Capitol sent  advisories for pre-emptive evacuation on  Monday but the message didn’t trickle down to some high-risk communities.

After  talking to some storm victims,  Baltazar Tribunalo, head of the  provincial disaster office,  said  he was able to “confirm” that some LGUS  did not  relay the advisories to the barangays.

“Some children whom I talked to really told me that they did not know about the storm or the evacuation. They were clueless,” said Tribunalo.

Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III went to Sibonga to survey the damaged Dumlog bridge  approach that cut off direct access to the next town of Argao.

He said he sent a text message to President Benigno Aquino requesting  assistance.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO)   yesterday said the  death toll in Cebu province from typhoon “Seniang” has risen to 17.

Two unidentified bodies were recovered  in  Sibonga and Ronda  towns in the past two days, said  Tribunalo.

Two persons remain missing – a two-month-old boy  and a three-year-old female who were swept by floodwaters while they were in their house in barangay Tupas, Ronda, where most of the deaths were reported.

Tribunalo said the  casualties could have been avoided if local government units  (LGUs) had  implemented a “real” forced evacuation in high-risk areas.

“It’s very sad that we campaigned for zero casualty, that no one would  die, go missing or get wounded. But our local government units still have a lot to improve in disaster preparations,” said Tribunalo.

He initially pegged the cost of damage  in Cebu at P800,000 to over a billion pesos but the figure may  increase based on  assessment reports sent by the storm-stricken towns.

“We need to prepare a detailed report for the damage. We will send it as soon as possible,” the governor told reporters.

Authorities, meanwhile,  warned residents in flood-hit areas against water-borne diseases.

Those who wade through floodwater should wash up  thoroughly to avoid contracting diseases such as leptospirosis and diarrhea, said  Dr. Expedito Medalla of the  Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7).

Medalla said the DOH-7 was  monitoring the water systems of some areas affected by flood for possible contamination.

Medicines have been distributed to the municipality of Loon, Bohol for  victims of diarrhea.

No cases of leptospirosis and diarrhea have been reported yet in southern Cebu which experienced severe flooding.

Governor Davide  went to Sibonga town at noon to check the  Dumlog Bridge along with Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Assistant Secretary  Dimas Soguilon and DPWH First District Engr. Nicomedes Leonor Jr.

Provincial Information Officer Ethel Natera said  Sibonga municipal officials are  trying to arrange with lot owners nearby to allow people to pass through their property while the a temporary steel bridge is being set up.

Strong rains and runoff from the mountains also washed out the access of the  Dumlog bridge in Sibonga town, southern Cebu.

Bridge engineering experts from DPWH’s central office visited the site yesterday to plan how to install a temporary steel bridge.

“We’re mobilizing our equipment and working on the components of the steel bridge to connect the bridge to the damaged approach,” Ador Canlas, DPWH regional director, said.

He said the bridge will be operational  in two weeks.

Since the bridge is impassable, people go down to the riverbank to use  a footbridge or take a habal habal motorcycle on a detour route to get to their destination.

The Office of the Civil Defense 7 said there were 21 deaths, three remain missing and seven were injured from southern Cebu and Bohol province.

Two sinkholes also surfaced  in Badian town, southwest Cebu.

A total of  93 houses were destroyed by typhoon Seniang–  63 in Cebu and 30 in Bohol.

The OCD-7 said  financial assistance of  P5,000 to P10,000 will be given to the typhoon victims.

 

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