PGMA orders more aid for Cagayan Valley victims: Flashfloods leave 12 dead; 35,000 families displaced
>> Sunday, November 30, 2008
TUGUEGARAO CITY – President Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered more aid for residents of Cagayan and Isabela provinces badly hit by flashfloods which left 12 people and left thousands of residents homeless last week.
This, as Cagayan extended its five-month state of calamity from the flashfloods. Meanwhile, acting on calls from Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca, the provincial board declared Isabela under a state of calamity after more than 35,000 families or about 100,000 residents were displaced with around 25,000 hectares of farmlands inundated, leaving millions of pesos worth of damaged crop.
Padaca said this would enable the provincial government’s calamity fund to be immediately released to affected towns that need further assistance for the immediate restoration of flood-damaged vital public facilities.
The Cagayan provincial board led by Vice Gov. Leonides Fausto meanwhile decided to extend the state of calamity in the province since July.
Fausto said the extended calamity state was prompted by the continuous rains in the province that already has caused thousands of residents fleeing their homes and millions worth of agricultural products destroyed.
The provincial disaster coordinating council said nearly 29,000 families were displaced by the five-day floods, particularly in the city as one of the worst hit areas in Cagayan Valley.
Earlier, the city was placed under a state of calamity after more than 7,000 families or around 9,000 people from 41 of the city’s 49 barangays were hit by floods.
Local officials said five people already perished from the floods.
The continuous rains were brought by a cold front, which according to the state weather bureau, will continue to affect parts of Northern Luzon until the end of the year.
Fausto said they would prioritize assistance to families affected by the flooding as well as the rehabilitation of damaged crops and agricultural infrastructure.
The Philippine National Red Cross said nearly 65,000 people were displaced in Cagayan.
PNRC deputy secretary general Gwendolyn Pang said they have rendered rescue and relief operations to distressed families in the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela and Aurora that were severely hit by flashfloods and landslides due to heavy rains.
“A total of 18,379 families or 64,357 persons have been affected by the flashfloods in Cagayan province,” Pang said.
In Enrile town, the floods displaced 3,713 families in nine villages, Pang said.
Pang reported that Tuguegarao City had 35 villages underwater with 5,936 families or 22,661 people displaced.
The PNRC added the city’s gymnasium and village hall accommodated 48 families. In Gattaran town, 19 vil¬lages with 321 families are affected and 30 families were evacuated to the public market.
Two villages and 95 families are affected in Tuao, while six villages with 338 families are affected in Amulong; while Alcala had 25 villages affected where 4,000 families or 24,300 persons were victimized by the calamity with 283 staying in the municipal gymnasium.
In Solana, 17 villages with 3,976 families or 17,396 people were affected while 150 families are in Mamba Gym.
The reported casualties in Cagayan also brought the death toll to seven people perished by the floods that included the neighboring province of Isabela.
Isabela’s capital town of Ila¬gan has been under calamity state after 71 of the town’s 91 barangays went underwater, forcing at least 4,000 families to evacuate leaving 5,000 hectares of crops destroyed.
Officials said the region lost at least P200 million worth of crops, fishery products and infrastructure facilities damaged by the floods, which also affected or displaced at least 50,000 families or nearly 150,000 individuals.
Isabela provincial agriculture chief Danilo Tumamao said the floods damaged more than 20,000 hectares of farmlands in the province, which translates into 50,000 metric tons of rice and corn production losses.
Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca blamed illegal logging in the province that aggravated the situation.
Padaca said they would give priority to the construction of water impounding dams and irrigation projects to cushion the effect of floods in the province.
The PNRC said 28 families were evacuated to Bagumba¬yan North Central Elementary School in Barangay Bagumba¬yan, while nine families are in Batong Labang Elementary School in Barangay Batong Labang.
The Department of Public Works and Highways said more than P7 million worth of infrastructure was damaged in Aurora province.
DPWH Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane said an initial estimate of P7.73 million worth of infrastructure was ruined by the flashfloods in the region.
The DPWH identified the affected road networks as the Nueva Ecija – Aurora Road along Barangay Villa in Maria Aurora. The road sustained the biggest damage at the cost of P5 million.
Also damaged is the Cabatangan Bridge, sections of the Baler-Casiguran Road along Pimpolosan Section, Ditawini Section, Sala Creek, Barangay Simabahan Section, Bungo Section, Dibacong-Bibut Section, Dibot Bridge, Montay Creek, Pugo Timber Bridge, and the Dinadiawan Madella Road along Kilometer 301 to 30 remain not passable to motorists due to landslides and damaged bridges. – Reports from CL, RDCC