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Saturday, March 2, 2024

25 dead in wake of ‘Agaton’

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Includes 22 landslide victims in Leyte, 3 fatalities in Davao floods

Landslides and floods claimed the lives of 25 people in Leyte and Davao, while six persons remained missing as tropical storm “Agaton” battered Visayas and Mindanao with steady rains, disaster officials said Monday.

MUDDY GRAVE. A man steps over a stream of mud toward a house buried in a landslide in Baybay City, Leyte on Monday, where 22 people perished amid steady rains from tropical storm Agaton. The Philippine Coast Guard assisted in the evacuation of residents living in low-lying areas in Hilongos, Leyte following the flooding caused by the first storm of the year. Baybay City DRRMO, PCG photos

At least 22 bodies were retrieved in four areas hit by landslides in Baybay City in Leyte as Agaton, which weakened into a tropical depression, battered the province, local officials said.

In Barangay Mailhi, a total of 16 residents were confirmed dead from a landslide, while three more were recovered in Barangay Kantagnos. Two were found dead in Barangay Maypatag, and another cadaver was recovered in Barangay Bunga, Baybay City police chief Colonel Jomen Collado told radio dzBB.

Local police also reported that two people died in Monkayo, Davao de Oro and another perished in Cateel, Davao Oriental.

The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) said at least two people were rescued in a landslide in Barangay Bunga in Baybay, while six people were reported missing, including the son of a university president.

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More than 100 families were also evacuated from seven villages due to the bad weather.

Rescuers resumed the retrieval at the landslide site around 5 a.m. on Monday after it stopped Sunday night due to poor visibility and heavy rains brought by Agaton.

Several incidences of flooding and minor landslides were reported in several communities in Abuyog, Leyte due to days of heavy downpour since April 7.

Adrian Paulo Tulin, a resident of Pangasugan village in Baybay City was declared missing Sunday night after swimming in a beach in Guadalupe village.

He is the son of Edgardo Tulin, president of Visayas State University in Baybay City.

As of 8 a.m. Monday, the center of Agaton, which has weakened into a tropical depression, was spotted over the coastal waters of Tanauan, Leyte with a maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometers per hour near the center and a gustiness of up to 75 kilometers per hour. It was moving slowly northwest.

All the region’s six provinces—Eastern Samar, Samar, Northern Samar, Biliran, Leyte, and Southern Leyte—were placed under tropical cyclone wind signal number 1.

Meanwhile, at least three people died and one was reported missing in Davao region due to floods triggered by tropical storm Agaton, disaster officials said Monday.

In Davao de Oro, two people, aged 65 and 67, drowned in Compostela town while another was reported missing in Monkayo town, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said. An 83-year-old man drowned after he tried to save his livestock in Cateel town, Davao Oriental.

Davao de Oro has been placed under a state of calamity after the floods displaced over 4,600 families.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) No. 1 has been hoisted over the southern portion of Masbate (Dimasalang, Palanas, Cataingan, Pio V. Corpuz, Esperanza, Placer, Cawayan); Eastern Samar, Samar, Northern Samar, Biliran, Leyte, Southern Leyte, the northeastern portion of Cebu (Daanbantayan, San Remigio, Medellin, City of Bogo, Tabogon, Borbon, Sogod, Catmon, Carmen, Danao City, Compostela, Liloan) including Camotes Island, and the eastern portion of Bohol (Getafe, Talibon, Bien Unido, Trinidad, Ubay, San Miguel, Pres. Carlos P. Garcia, Mabini); Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands.

Strong breeze to near gale conditions will prevail in these areas, while rough to very rough seas are forecast over their seaboard.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said these conditions may be risky for most sea vessels. Mariners of these vessels are advised to remain in port or take shelter, and those operating larger vessels are advised to take precautionary measures when venturing into the sea and, if possible, avoid navigating in these conditions.

Moderate to rough seas will also prevail over the remaining seaboards of the country that are not under any wind signal.
Moderate to heavy, with at times intense rains will be experienced over Eastern Visayas, Masbate, Sorsogon, Catanduanes, and the northern and central portions of Cebu including Bantayan and Camotes Islands.

Light to moderate, with at times heavy rains are likely over Dinagat Islands, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Quezon, and the rest of Bicol Region and the Visayas.

Pagasa said Agaton may further weaken by Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Malakas is forecast to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Tuesday.

Pagasa said “Malakas” is unlikely to directly affect the weather condition in the country and is likely to exit PAR either Tuesday or Wednesday.

In its Monday morning update, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said Agaton has so far affected 201 barangays in eight regions in the country.

These areas are Regions 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, Caraga, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Affected families are placed at 86,515 or 136,390 persons.

Some 71 evacuation centers house 3,717 families or 13,049 people.

The NDRRMC added that it is still confirming reports that one person was killed, and another was missing in Region 11 due to the effects of Agaton even as it confirmed reports of two people injured in Region 10.

It also reported that a total of 52 houses were damaged, with 49 classified as “partially damaged” and three as “totally damaged.”

These were reported in Region 7, 10, and the Caraga.

Malacañang reminded residents in affected areas to continue taking precautionary measures even as the storm weakens.

In other developments:

• The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it is ready to speed up the exemption of local government units hit by Agaton from the campaign period spending ban.

• The Department of Social Welfare and Development in Bicol (DWSD-5) said 26,742 family food packs worth P13.2 million are available at its warehouses, on top of a standby fund of P5 million for residents of the region who might be affected by Agaton. The agency said non-food items are also available such as family tents, sleeping kits, family kits, hygiene kits, kitchen kits, “malong” (wrap-around garment), laminated sacks, blankets, folding beds, water containers, and outdoor tents amounting to P26.7 million, the DSWD-5 said in a report.

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