BOHOL, Misamis Oriental and Asuncion in Davao del Norte were declared in a state of calamity—with Cebu province another possible candidate—even as the death toll from tropical storm Seniang rose to 53, officials said Wednesday.
Alexander Pama, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said most of the new fatalities were killed by rain-induced landslides in Catbalogan City.
“We have recovered 19 fatalities in the area and our rescue teams are still searching for three more missing people,” said Catbalogan City Mayor Stephanie Uy Tan.
Malacañang said the high number of fatalities in the areas battered by typhoon Seniang was due to landslides.
“As directed by the President, the government is mobilizing all the resources needed to provide relief and assistance to the families and communities affected by Typhoon Seniang,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.said.
“According to the NDRRMC, the higher casualty count is accounted for largely by landslides in Catbalogan, Samar, and Tanauan, Leyte, and the flash floods in Ronda in Cebu province.
“Nineteen perished in the Catbalogan landslide, while 10 died in the landslides in Tanauan and Mahaplag, Leyte. Thirteen died from the flash floods in Ronda, Cebu.
“While Typhoon Seniang affected 839 barangays in 74 municipalities, 10 cities, 12 provinces and five regions, 80 per cent of all the reported casualties were accounted for only by the aforementioned landslides and flash floods in three localities.
“As in the case of Typhoon Sendong in December 2012, Typhoon Seniang brought on floods due to continuous rainfall over a 24-hour period.”
Pama said Seniang affected 52,000 families and injured 26 people, while eight were still missing.
A TV report said many residents in Southern Cebu lost animals, houses and other property.
In Alcantara town, residents were surprised by the floods that washed away their homes, crops and animals and left many villages as virtual swimming pools.
Mayor Beatriz Caburnay said it was the first time the town had experienced heavy flooding.
In Ronda town, at least 13 residents were reported killed while three more were missing in the wake of the floods.
In Dumanjug town, floods washed away houses and animals, and Vice Mayor Gungun Gica said more than half of Tabon village was badly affected.
In Cebu City, only one lane of the Trans-Central Highway in Busay village was passable after a landslide sent rocks falling and blocking the other lane.
In Balamban town, heavy rain made part of the highway in Gaas village impassable, while big waves damaged many outriggers in Lapu-Lapu City.
The weather bureau said Seniang was expected to make landfall in Palawan by Wednesday afternoon.
“It has not made landfall in Palawan yet but it will by Wednesday afternoon, forecaster Gladys Saludes said, adding storm signal no.2 had been raised in the province.
Seniang has maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph.
The storm is expected to be 130 km southwest of Puerto Princesa City by Thursday morning and outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility by Friday morning.
Saludes says there’s a possibility that Seniang will turn into a tropical depression or even dissipate as it heads toward Vietnam. With PNA
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