2,009 persons evacuated in Caraga region due flooding; there is power outage in most parts of the region, landslide warned 

by Ben Serrano

January 3, 2011

            BUTUAN CITY (PNA)  - Some 2,009 persons fled their homes due rising floodwaters in the Municipality of San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, cities of Butuan and Surigao and Agusan del Norte  initial officials reports from government and private rescue teams including their respective disaster councils and social welfare offices. 

            In San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, local communication and rescue group Clean 10 and KBP president Max Tutor said some 1,117 evacuees from different barangays of the capital town of Agusan del Sur are now being temporarily housed at the San Francisco Municipal Gym as of 2:30 a.m. January 3, 2011. 

           Dr. Blanche Gobenciong, Office of the Civil Defense Caraga regional director confirmed the initial report of the number of evacuees although she claimed the number may increase by the hours due continuing downpour of rains as some LGUs in the region have not reported yet due to unavailability of power.

           In most parts of Caraga region, there is brown out or power outage, she said. Power coops have not explained why the sudden power outage.

            In a long distance telephone interview, Tutor told PNA that his house in Barangay 3 in San Francisco was among those flooded.

In Barangay 3 alone, some 151 persons were already evacuated to the newly-refurbished Municipal Gym as 2:30 a.m. early dawn this morning. 

In Surigao City, some 392 persons or about 72 families fled their homes in Barangay San Juan particularly in Navalca and Barangay Washington after sudden rise of floodwaters brought about by continuous rains for two days now, the Surigao City Social Welfare info bulletin shared to media said.

Residents in low lying areas at the back of Villa Corito Subdivision, according to PIA reports have also started to evacuate to evacuation centers due rising flood waters. The PIA report however have not mentioned how many have evacuated so far.

            Report from Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Caraga Region through PIA-Caraga regional director Abner Caga said the Bureau of Mines and Geo-Sciences regional office based in Surigao City as early as 5 p.m. January 2 issued warning to residents in low lying areas and those living nearby or side of the mountains to be vigilant for possible landslide.

            MGB-13 Information Officer Genevieve Chua said MGB Regional Director Alilio Ensomo requested all residents living near mountains especially those engaged in small-scale mining activities to stay away from sides of the mountain for possible landslides.

            In Dinagat islands province, municipal officials of the seven municipalities there are now directly monitoring the situation of the island province after floodwaters and big waves along coastal areas have been observed.

            Here in Butuan City, some 300 residents in low lying areas have already started to evacuate to different evacuation centers early dawn today about 2:35 a.m. January 3, 2011, the City Disaster Coordinating Council reported.

            The report claimed most of the evacuees were coming from resident living near rivar banks of Agusan River who are already heavily silted due dumping of sawdust from wooden sawmill allowed to be installed at the river banks by the government.

            Flood waters have already submerged some houses in Barangay Colorado, Jabonga, Agusan del Norte as of 2 a.m. January 3 morning, the Municipal Disaster Coordinating Council reported. 

            The report claimed some 200 persons were evacuated to evacuation centers. Residents of Barangay Colorado have been complaining for many years that government must initiate dredging of the Calinawan River. Flooding in the past in Barangay Colorado which situated at the mouth of Lake Mainit already killed persons due drowning, damages of crops and live stocks worth millions of pesos.

            They lamented that government is just wasting taxpayers’ money in distributing seedlings, livestock, fertilizers again and again after every perennial flooding that occurred in barangay Colorado.

            No casualties or were hurt so far were reported by authorities due flooding that resulted to mass evacuation.

            Power brown outs were observed in the cities of Surigao and Butuan City early dawn today.

            Local weather PAG-ASA Bureau Office in Surigao City said the continuous rains that started January 1 or New year was due tail end monsoon rains and cold front. (PNA/Ben Serrano)