Friday, July 1, 2011

Search continues for Davao flash flood victims

DAVAO CITY, Philippines - Search and rescue teams combed through flooded areas in Davao City on Thursday to find those who went missing during the disaster.

In Pangi, they found the bodies of a woman and her 3 children whose house was carried away by the flood.

Only the father survived.

Twenty-nine have been confirmed killed in the flood, while 2 others remain missing, according to authorities.

Meanwhile, hundreds of families are now homeless, after the flood swept away their houses.

Evacuation centers in the city that received relief goods from ABS-CBN's Sagip Kapamilya remain crowded.

Unprepared

Magno Adalin Jr., chief of the city's public safety command center (PSCC), has admitted that despite their modern equipment and readiness, they did not anticipate the magnitude of the flooding.

He added that Davao City is almost never hit by storms and typhoons.

The rains, which started Tuesday at past 10 p.m., were caught on the center's CCTV camera.

In less than an hour, the flash flood hit Barangay Matina.

Motorists were left stranded and rescuers were unable to cross raging waters.

In just 15 minutes, the water had already risen to more than 10 meters.

"Iyung gabi na yun, (we were) not expecting na ganun kabilis ang flooding. Usually, 1 hour bago mag-move ang water per level. But during that time, as early as 10:30, umabot na siya sa 6.5 meters ang taas ng water level," said Pepito Capili, officer-in-charge of the city's disaster risk reduction and management council.

As the waters began to recede, the damage caused by the floods became clear.

Cars were overturned, and houses were totally destroyed.

The PSCC, which was only established last year, is now pushing for all barangays in Davao City to again undergo disaster preparedness training to prepare for similar calamities.

The local government, meanwhile, is now studying possible relocation sites for those living in flood-prone areas.

City Mayor Sara Duterte said 5 barangays have been placed under a state of calamity.

She added that the local government is now focused on the distribution of relief goods and clean-up operations. - Reports from Francis Magbanua and Michelle Robin, ABS-CBN ABS-CBN News Southern Mindanao; ANC

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