Australia TILTING & BACKWASHING:
/ Floods cut off Northern Australia!!! /
/ Heavy flooding in Australia's north has destroyed parts of the Northern Territory's major highway, cutting road access to the region's city capital, Darwin, and Katherine. "We were wading through chest-deep water with quite a current" Hundreds of people have become stranded by the floodwaters caused by torrential rain. /
/ FLOODWATERS have separated the Top End from the rest of the Northern Territory as torrential rain from ex-tropical cyclone Grant. /
India TILTING & BACKWASHING:
/ High tidal waves lash Andhra coast!!
Meanwhile, due to high tidal waves of eight—10 feet, sea water inundated some places in Nellore, Prakasam and Srikakulam districts. Fishing boats anchored along the coast were either washed away or damaged due to the tidal waves since Tuesday night. The road between Uppada and Kakinada in East Godavari was cut off Wednesday as the waves damaged the embankment and the sea water overflowed the beach road, an official said. /
/ Giant waves cause panic in Puducherry /
/ Jakarta -Jakarta government plans to raise the dikes retaining permanent tide along the northern coast. This is done to resist tidal waves or crashing often rob a residential area in the region Marunda, North Jakarta Video and Source /
/ Local traditional markets in Kampong gnats, Tanjunguma rob flooding. As a result, the home resident of RT / RW 001/04 and RT / RW 002/03, submerged in water. As a result of flooding caused by high tides (rob), the activity of paralyzed people. Similarly, access to transportation, barely connected. According to residents, the tide of the sea that had flooded the region since last Saturday (24/12). Until Tuesday (27/12), flood rob it has not shown signs of going to recede. Source /
Sunda Plate tsunami continue:
/ Police advise to stay away from beaches beaches. Terengganu police chief Datuk Jamshah Mustapa has advised the public to stay away from the beaches in Besut, Dungun and Kemaman, which have been eroded by huge waves caused by unusually high tides. On Monday, Bernama reported on the high-tide phenomenon which caused huge waves, one of the worst in the past 50 years. — Bernama /
Sunda Plate tsunami continue:
/ While strong, high waves continue to pummel shoreline in Thailand’s southern provinces, causing damage to coastal houses. Nakhon Si Thammrat Governor Wirote Jiwarangsan and local Red Cross officials visited residents on the Taloompuk peninsula in Pak Phanang district where the situation is still worrying and wave keeps striking shore communities, which continue to take a beating with flooding in a number of seaside villages. /
New flood in Philippines map:
On a map in the main provinces in which the flood! NOT VILLAGES!
At the bottom I've highlighted the province which I have included in this map!
/ Floods in Visayas, Mindanao affect over 50,000—NDRRMC. More than 50,000 people throughout 12 provinces in Visayas and Mindanao were affected by rains and flooding.
The Polangi River in Bukidnon overflowed causing houses and agricultural crops to be washed out in the villages of Batangan, Kawayanon, Lumbo, Poblacion Kahaponan, San Isidro, Sinabuagan, Bagontaas, and Sugod of Valencia City. More than 100 families were evacuated to Batangan court due to the flooding. An estimated 400 houses were totally washed out in Barangay Magukay, Mandaue City, Cebu and 300 houses were partially damaged in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City, Cebu. Low-lying areas in the municipalities of Compostela, Montevista, New Bataan, Monkayo, Maco and Nabunturan in Compostela Valley were also flooded. Landslides also occurred in Banga, Aklan, destroying five houses, and in the Luhan River, Barangay Salacafe, South Cotabato, which blocked the water and caused the water level to rise by five feet, creating a small lagoon./
/2 missing, 14,996 persons evacuated in 18 Caraga Region villages due to floods.
Two minors are missing while about 14,996 individuals or about 3,049 families mostly from low-lying areas in the provinces of Surigao del Norte including its charter city, Surigao City, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur fled their homes due to flooding since Monday. /
/ More floods sweep areas in Visayas, Mindanao. Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Oriental Mindoro, Dinagat, Cebu and Leyte were the areas most affected by the flooding. /
/ The flood affected about 3,700 families in Northern Negros. In Sagay City, 2,500 families evacuated from their houses while in San Carlos City, 798 families were forced to flee their homes. In Cadiz City, 425 families were affected while in Calatrava, 30 families were reportedly affected /
/ Flooding hits 13 Cebu LGUs. FLOODS displaced hundreds of people, killed a mother and her daughter, and swept away a six-year-old boy in Cebu Province yesterday. Heavy rains in the last two days flooded several barangays in the towns of Tabogon, Consolacion, Balamban, Liloan, Carmen, Catmon, Sogod, and Minglanilla, and the cities of Danao, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, Cebu, and Toledo. /
/ More towns flooded in Davao del Norte. The weather is fair today here but floodwaters overflowing from major rivers rush through lowland areas of the province affecting three more towns and the capital city of Tagum. The widespread flooding in Davao del Norte came about as major rivers Saug and Libuganon, and Ilog Creek overflowed due to continuous rains which occurred from Dec. 26 and Dec. 27 The overflowing floodwaters first hit Tuesday some portions of the municipalities of Asuncion and Kapalong , and it spread through nearby barangays of New Corella. /
/ The fresh floods in the Visayas and Mindanao affected more than 10,00 families, but no fatalities were reported even as raging floodwaters wiped out two “puroks” or subvillages in Bukidnon /
/ Flashfloods early Tuesday morning displaced an estimated 1,146 families in riverside barangays in the city, according to initial estimates from the City Social Welfare and Development Office, in what residents said had been the worst so far in 29 years. Water level went up by around four meters and had subsided by only about two meters as of Tuesday afternoon, Alejandro Larosa Jr., executive officer of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said. /
/ Water rose to waist level in some areas in Bacolod City following the continuous downpour of rain brought about by a tropical depression and led to the evacuation of six families in Purok Golda, Brgy. Estefania. Brgy. Pahanocoy also left their homes yesterday morning and temporarily stayed with their neighbors when water level rose to about 4-feet high. /
/ At least 80 children from this city were rescued after being trapped in the floods that inundated parts of the town of Kapalong in Davao del Norte where they were attending a youth camp on Tuesday, Kapalong Mayor Edgardo Timbol said. In Barangay Florida alone, four houses were destroyed as the Saug, Ilog and Libuganon rivers overflowed, Timbol said. /
Sunda Plate tsunami continue:
/ The municipality of New Washington in Aklan province was placed under state of calamity after big waves destroyed 26 seaside houses in the coastal municipality. Apart from the damaged houses, several commercial establishments have been affected by the swelling seawater. /
It's tsunami not flash flood:
/ The death toll from typhoon Sendong’s “tsunami in reverse” in Northern Mindanao last week is the second highest in Mindanao in 35 years, second only to the death toll from the 1976 tsunami along the Moro Gulf. Acosta, who joined President Aquino during an aerial survey of the devastation in the two cities on December 20, described it as “like a tsunami in reverse-from coast to sea, a tsunami from the uplands.” /
Flood chaos: live updates and video
AUTHORITIES are hoping to have the Stuart Highway open for all traffic within the next 48 hours.
Chief Minister Paul Henderson told a press conference that they hoped to have the Cullen Bridge open by later this afternoon.
It is hoped the Edith River low-level bridge can be opened to all traffic within 24 to 48 hours.
The Edith River high-level bridge has been damaged by train carriages and is expected to be opened within seven to 10 days.
"maybe the embankments on either side of the bridge encroach on the flood plain but the bridge itself is 8 spans must have been a hell of a lot of water..hope the beer is still left there if only to shut the so called experts up"
After the Stuart Highway has been repaired for traffic, freight can continue from Katherine to Darwin.
Trains will take the freight to Katherine where it will be loaded on trucks for road transit to Darwin, and vice versa, by-passing the damaged section of rail.
Woolworths has already advised customers of supply problems due to the flooded roads as their online deliery services have been hampered
"At this stage supply is inconsistent and we cannot confirm when this will improve, however we will endeavour to substitute items if out of stock where possible," the company said in an email to Darwin customers.
UPDATE: 10.30am -- TOP END CUT OFF
FLOODWATERS have separated the Top End from the rest of the Northern Territory as torrential rain from ex-tropical cyclone Grant.
The road and rail lines from Darwin to Katherine remain cut and have been badly damaged.
It is not yet clear when they will be re-opened.
UPDATE: 4.55pm December 27 -- FREIGHT TRAIN CARRYING 120 TONNES OF COPPER CONCENTRATE
THE freight train that derailed north of Katherine early this morning was carrying about 120 tonnes of copper concentrate, the operating company estimates.
Genessee & Wyoming managing director Bert Easthope says he doesn't know how much of the substance has spilt.
He also did not know what the environmental or health effects might be.
"We're actually doing a preliminary assessment (of the area)," he said.
He said they would do aerial sweeps of the scene and then send people in on the ground once it was safe.
"We will move as quickly as we can to remediate this in a timely manner, but we will not be putting anybody else at risk," Mr Easthope said.
Â The two drivers were eventually rescued after emergency crews' efforts were hampered by bad weather.
At least one of the drivers will be flown to Darwin later today.
UPDATE: 3.45pm December 27 -- ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERN FROM LEAK
TERRITORY environmental authorities are concerned about reports a chemical is leaking from a derailed freight train into rain-swollen rivers.
The NT News reported earlier that police had been told the chemical is copper concentrate.
NRETAS chief executive Jim Grant said a full investigation would be undertaken to establish whether there had been any environmental harm. It will include water testing and "bottom of stream" samples.
He said copper concentrate was classed as an environmental hazard and could be harmful to marine life when suspended in the water.
"But it is not highly toxic at all," he said.
Mr Grant said he could not go into specifics, because the investigation could lead to a prosecution.
UPDATE: 2.30pm December 27 -- COPPER CONCENTRATE ON TRAIN
COMMANDER David Proctor says police have been advised that the train was carrying carbon dioxide and copper concentrate.
Some of the copper concentrate is believed to have spilled into the water system.
Mr Proctor says the train operators say the copper concentrate in the river system is not harmful to human beings.
But the NT Environment Department will send inspectors to the crash scene as soon as it is accessible.
UPDATE: 2.10pm December 27 -- CYCLONE WATCH DECLARED
THE remnants of Cyclone Grant are now starting to threaten the Territory's east coast.
A Cyclone Watch has just been declared for a developing tropical low from Nhulunbuy to Numbalwar, including Groote Eylandt.
The weather bureau says that at 12:30 pm Ex-Tropical Cyclone Grant was about 95km south of Jabiru and 445km west-southwest of Nhulunbuy - and was moving south southeast at 2km per hour.
It is expected to begin moving towards the east on Wednesday and is likely to move over the Gulf of Carpentaria on Thursday, where it may redevelop into a tropical cyclone.
It is system is expected to move steadily east across the Gulf of Carpentaria towards Queensland on Thursday and Friday.
UPDATE: 2pm December 27 -- POLICE UPDATE
THE latest update from NT Police Northern Commander David Proctor:
SEVEN people in five cars stranded on a stretch of the Stuart Highway that's cut off by the flooded Edith River to the south, and the Cullen River to the north.
NINE people, including four children, stranded on the roofs of two houses inundated by floodwaters on Edith Farms Rd.
EMERGENCY services going through options to recover those stranded _ but the Katherine helicopter they used to rescue two train drivers has now been grounded due to bad weather.
THE ROAD bridge at Edith River Crossing has reportedly been damaged by carriages from the derailed freight train that were washed away by raging floodwaters. The train tracks have also been badly damaged. Government inspectors will need to inspect the bridge once the spot is accessible.
UPDATE: 1.50pm December 27 -- CROSSINGS CLOSED FOR TWO DAYS
SEVERAL Top End river crossings flooded overnight could remain closed for nearly two days, authorities warn.
Falling river levels today have revealed severe damage to the Edith River Bridge northbound.
Experts say the new bridge would need repairs before people could cross.
The only hope is now that the southbound bridge which is still under water has no damage and is passable.
The north and southbound bridges at the Cullen River crossing are also still under water.
And the Fergusson River crossing remains flooded.
Police said they would not reopen any crossing until the Edith River is passable.
Katherine is not on flood warning as the system affected is in the Fergusson catchment which feeds into the Daly River. A minor flood warning exists for Gorge Rd.
The next flood warning will be issued at 8pm.
UPDATE: 1.41pm December 27 -- INJURED TRAIN DRIVER IN STABLE CONDITION
THE driver injured in this morning's freight train derailment is in a stable condition and being assessed at Katherine Hospital.
He was safely delivered in a small chopper after wild weather delayed rescue efforts.
Police and emergency services had initially struggled to reach the scene as the train was stranded on a section where the Stuart Highway had been cut off to the north and south by the flooded Edith and Cullen rivers.
NT Police Northern Commander David Proctor said they were able to use another smaller chopper that was already in the area doing aerial assessments of nearby communities.
St John Ambulance's Craig Garraway said the chopper arrived in Katherine just after 11am today.
"The ambulance was waiting for him and took him to hospital,'' he said.
Mr Garraway said the man had suspected back injuries - although he had been walking around this morning.
UPDATE: 1.30pm December 27 -- RIVER LEVELS
THREE river crossings will be closed well in to the night after rains from ex-tropical cyclone Grant flooded bridges.
The Cullen River Crossing was at 9m at 11.50am, which is about 3m above the bridge top. Water levels there are falling.
The Edith River Bridge, near where a train derailed this morning, was at 5.75m and rising at 11.50am.
The rivers run into the Fergusson river, which was at 18.14m near Bondi Creek at 11.40am. It was 16m above the level of the small bush crossing and rising.
At Railway Bridge on the Stuart Highway it was at 13.64m and falling at 12.50pm.
The Fergusson river runs into the Daly which was at 4.2m - or 3m above the level of the Dorisvale Crossing - and rising as of 10.30am.
It is not known if this is enough to flood the Daly River community of Nauiyu about 250km northwest of Katherine, home to about 450 people downstream.
About 320mm of rain has been recorded at Pine Creek in the past 24 hours.
Roadtrains have been waiting in Katherine since midnight this morning to cross the rivers, and police warn it could be as late as midnight tonight before the road is reopened, after Department of Construction and Infrastructure engineers have inspected and cleared the bridges.
More rain could further delay the reopening. Police are turning vehicles back at Adelaide River.
UPDATE: 12.40pm December 27 -- SCENE DESCRIBED AS "DEVASTATION"
THE scene of the train derailment just north of Katherine has been described as one of "devastation''.
Katherine MLA Willem Westra van Holthe arrived at the scene about two hours after the derailment and said there was a huge amount of water coursing through.
"The whole scene is quite shocking,'' he said.
"I've lived in the Territory for 27 years and I've never seen anything like it.
"It was quite apparent ... that the train had gone off its rails and a number of containers had floated downstream and lodged up against the road bridge.''
Mr Westra van Holthe said he could not tell if the road bridge had been damaged, but said an engineer could be needed to clear the bridge for safety before reopening it.
He said the damage to the tracks and Stuart Highway was revealed when the water later began dropping.
"There are sheets of bitumen that have lifted and totally gone,'' Mr Westra van Holthe said.
"There's also an enormous amount of damage to the train track itself.''
The freight train, carrying iron ore, derailed just north of Edith Falls River crossing about 5.30am.
UPDATE: 12.15pm December 27-- 200 GHAN PASSENGERS STUCK IN KATHERINE
PASSENGERS travelling north on the Ghan are stuck in Katherine after a freight train derailed earlier this morning.
Great Southern Rail spokeswoman Jessica Playford confirmed the Ghan, which was travelling with just under 200 guests, was supposed to get into Darwin later tonight.
She says the train is now in the middle of its scheduled break in Katherine, so the guests' timetable hasn't yet been officially disrupted.
Ms Playford says it is hoped they will get the passengers into Darwin by coach tonight.
"Depending on what happens with the track and the roads - hopefully the roads will be open later today,'' she said.
Eyewitnesses at the scene of the iron ore train derailment - just north of Edith Falls River crossing _ say the track has been badly damaged.
There are also reports that some of the train's carriages were washed by the flood waters into the car bridge down stream, and damaged that.
Ms Playford said there were already coaches organised to take the passengers from Katherine to Darwin.
The Ghan is also scheduled to leave Darwin for Adelaide tomorrow morning.
Ms Playford estimates just under 200 are booked for that journey as well.
She said they would do the same thing with those guests, and coach them down to Katherine to get on the Ghan there, as long as the roads were open.
UPDATE 11.22am December 27 -- INJURED TRAIN DRIVER RESCUED
THE train driver who sustained back injuries in this morning's derailment is about to be loaded in a small chopper and flown to Katherine.
St John Ambulance spokesman Craig Garraway says it's hoped the helicopter will land in Katherine within the next hour.
"The driver has got back injuries and is currently on the side of the road,'' he said.
"A paramedic, a policeman and the driver will be flying back to Katherine.''
An earlier CareFlight helicopter sent from Darwin to rescue the two train drivers was forced to turn back due to bad weather.
Mr Garraway said the chopper will fly via a small nearby community left isolated in the flooding, to check that residents there are OK.
He said the Katherine ambulance crew had been working with rescue authorities throughout the night, as bad weather from ex-cyclone Grant wreaks havoc in the region.
Police report two families are stranded on their roofs, with floodwaters inundating their homes on Edith Farms Rd.
Emergency service crews and volunteers have been working throughout the night responding to various incidents.
The freight train, carrying iron ore, derailed just north of Edith Falls River crossing about 5.30am.
Police say several people are stranded between the Cullen River Crossing and Edith River Bridge Crossing, as the Stuart Highway remains impassable due to flood waters.
Police at Adelaide River are advising motorists they can not travel further south than Pine Creek and Police at Pine Creek have set up a road block to prevent people driving into the flood affected area.
Hydrologist Nigel Mules said the town of Katherine is not currently on flood warning though there is a minor flood warning current for Gorge Rd.
UPDATE: 10.25am December 27 -- RESCUE HELICOPTER FORCED BACK
THE helicopter crew sent to rescue two stranded drivers of a derailed freight train has been forced to go back because of difficult weather.
But police on the ground have now reached the scene.
The CareFlight helicopter had been dispatched from Darwin about 9am today. But CareFlight spokesman Ian Badham says the crew can't get through.
"The weather is so awful over the Hayes Creek area _ the helicopter team have tried to get through but it's not safe,'' he said.
Police say they have now reached the pair at the scene.
They say the driver and the co-driver are now being medically assessed.
Mr Badham says police plan to have crews drive the pair to Katherine Hospital.
He says if the medical needs of the drivers require them to be treated in Darwin, CareFlight will be able to get through with one of its planes.
Eyewitnesses have told the NT News they can see the back train carriages have been washed off the rails, and that the tracks are under 2m of water.
The freight train, carrying iron ore, derailed just north of Edith Falls River crossing about 5.30am. Police say the train had about 20 carriages.
UPDATE: 9.40am December 27 -- TRAIN DRIVERS TRAPPED, POSSIBLY INJURED
THERE are reports two drivers of the freight train that derailed early this morning are still stuck inside.
Police this morning would not confirm the reports but said the men were "isolated" by flood waters.
Emergency authorities are trying to rescue the injured pair and a CareFlight helicopter was dispatched just after 9am carrying a doctor and CareFlight nurse.
It's understood the train is surrounded by deep water.
And the helicopter crew's rescue effort may be hampered by bad weather caused by the wake of ex-tropical cyclone Grant.
CareFlight spokesman Ian Badham said the crew was expected to reach the train by about 10am today.
"The weather's not good,'' he said. "The crew spoke to me on their way down there _ they said 'so far, so good'.''
Mr Badham said one driver was believed to have minor injuries and the other might have back injuries.
The freight train, carrying iron ore, derailed just north of Edith Falls River crossing about 5.30am.
Police say the train had about 20 carriages.
Pictures of the scene show a number of carriages have been washed into floodwaters.
UPDATE: 9.30am December 27 -- RAINFALL
More rain has fallen on the Fergusson River catchment which could threaten the remote Daly River community of about 450 people.
From 9am yesterday morning to 9am this morning, 385ml of rain was recorded at Edith Falls, according to the weather bureau.
A further 311ml was recorded at Upper-17-mile Creek near the Katherine River, while the Cullen River recorded 342 ml.
Hydrologist Nigel Mules said he had never seen that much rain in the time he has been here.
"And I've been here fro 10 years," he said.
Mr Mules said most of the rain fell in the Fergusson River catchment. The Cullen and Edith rivers both flow within that catchment and flow into the Daly River.
The Katherine River is upstream of where the Fergusson joins the Daly, he said.
The Daly River community of about 450 people is downstream from the rising waters and may experience flooding.
Mr Mules said when the waters hit the Dorisvale Crossing they would have a better idea of the impact.
A minor flood warning has been issued for Gorge Rd in Katherine
INITIAL REPORTS: 9am December 27 -- PEOPLE TRAPPED, CARS WASHED OFF BRIDGES, TRAIN DERAILED
FLOODING from Cyclone Grant has cut the Stuart Highway leaving motorists stranded, cars washed off bridges and a 20-carriage freight train completely derailed.
The Edith River Bridge about 40km north of Katherine and the Cullen River Crossing about 30km south of Pine Creek have been cut due to flooding.
A number of motorists are stranded on the Stuart Highway between Katherine and Pine Creek, police said.
Two people were plucked from raging floodwaters in the dark by emergency services volunteers and police after they were washed from the roof of their car on the Edith River Bridge.
The man and woman were attempting to cross the bridge on the Stuart Highway this morning about 2am, police said in a media release.
Their vehicle stalled and aquaplaned in the wet conditions, police said.
The couple climbed onto the roof but were swept off in the dark, police said.
They managed to grab onto a tree 50m downstream where they waited until NTES volunteers and police arrived, police said.
The pair were taken to the Katherine District Hospital for a medical check, police said.
NT Emergency Services duty officer Alison Heath said the volunteers who helped rescue the pair were out on another flood-boat rescue operation to a community near Katherine at 7.30am.
Ms Heath said the Katherine-based volunteer unit had been busy through the night thanks to Cyclone Grant flooding which cut the Stuart Highway, with the Darwin unit on stand-by to assist.
A freight train carrying iron ore was derailed just before 5.30am near the Edith River Crossing with police still trying to reach the scene.
Police said one of the drivers may have a back injury though this is unconfirmed.
Police believe the 20-carrriage train has been completely derailed and are sending a helicopter to take medical staff and officers to the scene.
A car towing a caravan was also washed from the Cullen River Bridge but both occupants escaped safely, police said.
The Fergusson river has also risen and a minor flood watch declared for Gorge Road near Katherine.
Police have urged drivers to carefully consider their options before trying to cross flooded roads especially if they cannot see whether the road is intact under the flood waters as it may have fatal consequences.
Floods devastate major highway in Australia's north
Heavy flooding in Australia's north has destroyed parts of the Northern Territory's major highway, cutting road access to the region's city capital, Darwin, and Katherine.
Hundreds of metres of the Stuart Highway became submerged when a well of floodwater hit a rail bridge outside of Katherine on Tuesday morning.
Concrete pylon has been tossed downstream and a freight train was swept off tracks here at Edith River in torrential rain caused by ex-tropical cyclone Grant.
With no road access into Darwin, supermarkets have begun advising residents that their supplies are low.
Rail access has also been cut into Katherine and Darwin.
Crews have been attempting to repair the highway and two damaged bridges, but it is unlikely the road will be open until the end of the week .
Hundreds of people have become stranded by the floodwaters caused by torrential rain.
Ex-Tropical Cyclone Grant dumped hundreds of millimetres of rain in the country's 'Top End' on Monday night as waters rose quickly near Katherine, south of the Northern Territory capital, Darwin.
A 20-carriage train, potentially carrying hazardous chemicals, was swept off its tracks at Edith River and one of the train drivers had to be airlifted to hospital.
Elizabeth Robinson and her family were stranded in floodwaters on their neighbours' property this morning.
She said they sheltered on a bulldozer until they were rescued in a boat.
"We were wading through chest-deep water with quite a current," she said.
Floods cut off Northern Australia
Major supply and transport routes to parts of Australia's tropical north were cut Wednesday after wild weather derailed a freight train and destroyed sections of a major highway.
Storms linked to ex-tropical cyclone Grant caused flash flooding across the remote Northern Territory that washed a 33-wagon iron ore train off a bridge and swept slabs of roadway from the Stuart Highway.
The Territory's chief minister Paul Henderson said there had been “significant damage” to roads and engineers were yet to inspect bridges.
“Until the waters recede we're not going to have a clear picture as to the structural impacts ... so we're hoping that the waters recede as quickly as they came up,” Henderson told ABC Radio.
The damage means that access to the Territory's tropical north, known locally as the Top End, is reliant on air travel, prompting concern about restocking supermarkets and other essentials.
“We have got an issue now with supplies,” said Willem Westra Van Holthe, a local politician from the town of Katherine, which gets most of its food from Darwin, further north.
“Shelves will be hit pretty hard, I would imagine.”
Henderson said he was hopeful of reopening the arterial Stuart Highway within 48 hours but the rail link was likely to take longer.
The derailed freight train's operators Genesee and Wyoming said crews were inspecting the damaged 350-metre segment and “it is not yet known how long repairs will take.”
Genesee and Wyoming said an empty crew van and five wagons - two of which contained hazardous copper concentrate - were derailed when flood waters washed away the southern base of the Edith River bridge north of Katherine.
Copper concentrate is considered a hazardous substance and inspectors from the environment department are investigating whether there has been any leak.
“We're taking it pretty seriously,” a department spokeswoman said.
The railway damage has left The Ghan passenger train, which runs through Australia's desert Outback from the southern city of Adelaide to Darwin, stranded in Katherine with about 200 passengers on board.
“The Stuart Highway is also presently closed north of Katherine and we have now been advised it will be closed for an estimated time of 48 hours,” said operator Great Southern Rail.
Grant was downgraded to a tropical low on Monday but it is expected to return to cyclone strength on Friday as it crosses the Gulf of Carpentaria to neighbouring Queensland state. -Sapa-AFP
High tidal waves lash Andhra coast
Fear gripped coastal Andhra as high tidal waves lashed the coast under the impact of cyclonic storm ‘Thane’ which is set to cross the coast between Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu and Nellore in Andhra Pradesh Dec 30.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the cyclonic storm over southwest and adjoining southeast Bay of Bengal remained practically stationary and lay centred at about 600 km east-southeast of Chennai.
“The system is likely to move west-northwestwards slowly, intensify into a severe cyclonic storm during the next 24 hours and cross north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coasts between Cuddalore and Nellore around the morning of Dec 30,” the IMD bulletin said Wednesday morning.
Under its influence, heavy rains and squally winds with a speed of 45-55 kmph are likely from Thursday.
Visakhapatnam Cyclone Warning Centre said the sea condition would be rough to very rough and advised fishermen not to venture into the sea. Those who were out at sea were advised to return to the coast.
Meanwhile, due to high tidal waves of eight—10 feet, sea water inundated some places in Nellore, Prakasam and Srikakulam districts. Fishing boats anchored along the coast were either washed away or damaged due to the tidal waves since Tuesday night.
The road between Uppada and Kakinada in East Godavari was cut off Wednesday as the waves damaged the embankment and the sea water overflowed the beach road, an official said.
High tidal waves accompanied by squally winds damaged boats in several villages in Srikakulam district.
Two fishermen were drowned when their boat capsized in high sea Tuesday evening close to the coast at Malkipuram in East Godavari district. Five others swam to safety.
About 200 fishermen of Guntur district who were reported missing returned safely with the help of Coast Guard Tuesday night. The families of the fishermen spent anxious moments as they had not returned home despite the cyclone warning by the weather office.
All nine coastal districts in Andhra have gone on high-alert as the cyclonic storm is heading towards the coast.
Control rooms have been opened in the offices of district collectors. Special officers were appointed in the coastal blocks to take up evacuation and other measures to minimize loss of lives and property.
Giant waves cause panic in Puducherry
Puducherry: Rough conditions prevailed in the sea off the Puducherry coast as giant waves rising to several metres above the normal level even as authorities hoisted caution signal in the local port and advised fishermen not to go for fishing in view of the 'Thane' cyclone.
The rising waves hitting boulders in the long stretch on the shores also caused a bit of panic among the people, including tourists thronging the former French colony ahead of the New Year.
With cyclone 'Thane' expected to cross the shore between Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu and Nellore in Andhra Pradesh on Friday the roughness of the sea ahead of the expected cyclone kept the fishermen at bay since yesterday.
The local port has hoisted flag number 2 as a caution to fishermen against the roughness of the sea. They have been advised not to venture into the sea.
Welfare Minister P Rajavelu visited Pannithittu village following information that sea water had entered the village due to the rough sea conditions.
He asked the fisheries officials to remain alert and take precautionary steps, officials said.
Floods in Visayas, Mindanao affect over 50,000—NDRRMC
MANILA, Philippines – More than 50,000 people throughout 12 provinces in Visayas and Mindanao were affected by rains and flooding coming from a low pressure area (LPA), the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Wednesday morning.
A total of 53,455 persons or 10,592 families were affected in the provinces of Capiz, Negros Occidental, Oriental Mindoro, Catanduanes, Cebu, Aklan, Leyte, Bukidnon, Davao del Norte, Compostela Province, Agusan del Sur, and Southern Leyte, the NDRRMC said.
The continuous rains brought by the LPA forced the evacuation of 17,330 persons to 53 evacuation centers, it said.
Six persons were killed, four from a ferry boat that capsized in Magat River due to the strong current last December 25 in Isabela and two from Barangay San Isidro, Tabogon, Cebu due to drowning, it said.
In Davao del Norte, the Saug/Lubunganon River and Ilog Creek overflowed causing floods in Kapalong and Asuncion that totally destroyed 15 houses in Barangay (village) Florida and Gupitan.
A banana packing plant, the Delta Banana Packing Plant in Kapalong, was destroyed by the flood along with agricultural lands where rice and bananas were planted.
The Polangi River in Bukidnon overflowed causing houses and agricultural crops to be washed out in the villages of Batangan, Kawayanon, Lumbo, Poblacion Kahaponan, San Isidro, Sinabuagan, Bagontaas, and Sugod of Valencia City.
More than 100 families were evacuated to Batangan court due to the flooding.
An estimated 400 houses were totally washed out in Barangay Magukay, Mandaue City, Cebu and 300 houses were partially damaged in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City, Cebu.
Low-lying areas in the municipalities of Compostela, Montevista, New Bataan, Monkayo, Maco and Nabunturan in Compostela Valley were also flooded.
Landslides also occurred in Banga, Aklan, destroying five houses, and in the Luhan River, Barangay Salacafe, South Cotabato, which blocked the water and caused the water level to rise by five feet, creating a small lagoon.
Local authorities and search and rescue units have been mobilized from Regions 4-A (Calabarzon) 5 (Bicol), 6 (Western Visayas), 7 (Central Visayas), 8 (Eastern Visayas), 10 (Northern Mindanao), and Caraga,
More floods sweep areas in Visayas, Mindanao
THE number of evacuees in Mindanao and the Visayas continued to rise as the flooding caused by rain brought by a low-pressure area swept several areas, disaster officials said Tuesday.
Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Oriental Mindoro, Dinagat, Cebu and Leyte were the areas most affected by the flooding, said Benito Ramos, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
“We have zero casualty so far because our local disaster offices and local officials were able to implement preemptive evacuations,” Ramos said.
In other developments:
• Malacañang said it failed to focus on the warnings of possible devastating floods in Mindanao as it was preoccupied with “clearing the land mines” left by the Arroyo administration
• The Organization of Islamic Conference has sent a four-man delegation to Cagayan de Oro City to assess the damage there and determine what kind of assistance its member states could extend
• Health Secretary Enrique Ona urged Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City residents to “adopt” families who might have lost most of their belongings in the floods
• The Thai government donated $100,000 to the flood victims
• Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. donated P10.89 million to the Red Cross for recovery and relief efforts.
The death toll from the flash floods that swept away entire villages in Mindanao climbed to nearly 1,500 on Tuesday as authorities widened their search for bodies.
The Office of Civil Defense’s latest tally listed 891 dead in Cagayan de Oro and an additional 451 in nearby Iligan city. The rest came from several other provinces. Most of the dead are unidentified.
“The search will continue as long as we are recovering bodies,” Ramos said.
Disaster officials later said the number of people who died in the floods was smaller than earlier reported.
Ramos said he had corrected an earlier death toll from the Health Department of nearly 1,500 to 1,249 based on the actual count of identified and unidentified bodies recovered by soldiers, policemen, firemen and rescue workers.
He said the number of missing could no longer be determined, but the search for bodies would go on.
Ramos said decomposing remains were retrieved floating in the sea as far as 60 miles 100 kilometers from the two cities where a Dec. 16 tropical storm unleashed more than a month’s worth of rainfall in 12 hours, sending walls of water gushing into homes.
One of the dead was a headless girl who appeared to have been hit by logs that were carried by the flash floods, Ramos said. She was among 13 bodies retrieved by a team of Navy sailors.
Navy and Coast Guard divers were initially sent to find more bodies believed to be pinned down by logs scattered in the sea and along riverbanks, but Ramos said the operation had to be called off because the waters were too murky.
“It’s useless to dive when you can see nothing,” he said.
It was not clear how many more are missing.
More than 60,000 homeless people from hundreds of flood-ravaged villages spent a miserable Christmas in jam-packed schools and gymnasiums, while the United Nations launched an urgent appeal for $28 million to help the displaced---more than half the population of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.
More rain on Tuesday prompted the evacuation of nearly 2,000 people on the opposite side of Mindanao, where a child was reported missing in the floods in Surigao city, the Office of Civil Defense reported.
President Benigno Aquino III, who banned logging in February following the previous flooding deaths that experts say were caused partly by deforestation and soil erosion, has ordered an investigation. AP, with Florante S. Solmerin, Joyce Pangco Pañares, John Anthony Concepcion, Macon Ramos-Araneta, Eric B. Apolonio, Roderick T. dela Cruz
New floods wipe villages out
MANILA, Philippines — The fresh floods in the Visayas and Mindanao affected more than 10,00 families, but no fatalities were reported even as raging floodwaters wiped out two “puroks” or subvillages in Bukidnon, authorities said on Wednesday.
However, the flood-causing rains spawned by a low pressure area (LPA) and the tail-end of a cold on Monday and Tuesday killed at least six people in Luzon, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.
In its bulletin issued late Wednesday afternoon, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said the number of flash flood victims in Caraga region, composed of five provinces and six cities, rose to 11,768 families or 57,874 individuals.
As of press time, the NDRRMC also reported that the weather has improved and floodwaters have subsided in most of the 240 villages and 14 affected provinces nationwide.
In Bukidnon, Col. Leopoldo Galon, spokesman of the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) said flash floods due to continuous rain since Monday “completely wiped out two puroks in Barangay Batangan, Valencia City.”
Houses and properties of residents were washed out by flood including agricultural crops, said Galon.
He said no casualty was reported as the affected families were immediately rescued by responding military and police personnel.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said 915 flood victims temporarily sought shelter in three evacuation centers.
But the LPA which dumped heavy rains in parts of Luzon, particularly Isabela, Mindoro, and Catanduanes claimed six lives.
Four people drowned in Isabela province after their ferryboat capsized due to strong water current while crossing Magat River going to Ifugao.
Two other people died in flooding that hit Barangay San Isidro, Tabogon in Cebu, while a one-year-old child, identified as Roan Libres, was reported missing in Barangay San Roque, Surigao City.
In Caraga, Army 8th Infantry Battalion Spokesman Jorge Jallorina said: “Some 400 families more have returned today to their respective houses after the water subsided.”
In Agusan del Sur, flooding occurred in Barangays Novele, Cabawan, Libuac, and part of Poblacion in Rosario, Agusan del Sur. A total of 42 families persons were rescued and evacuated to Bayugan East Central Elementary School.
Meanwhile, flooding was also experienced in Davao Del Norte due to the overflowing of Saug/Lubuganon river and Ilog creek. Flood water increased throughout the night, affecting low-lying areas in the towns of Compostela, Montevista, New Bataan, Monkayo, Maco and Nabunturan, all of Compostela Valley.
The NDRRMC said 15 houses were totally destroyed in Barangays Florida and Gupitan in Kapalong, Davao del Norte. Agricultural land planted with banana and rice and the Delta Banana Packing Plant in Kapalong were also destroyed by the floods.
In the Visayas, flooding occurred in the provinces of Capiz and Negros Occidental affecting more than 1,000 families. A landslide was also reported in Banga, Aklan where five houses were destroyed.
Flooded areas in Cebu were Barangays Guadalupe and Mabolo in Cebu City; Barangays Umapad, Banilad, and Paknaan in Mandaue City; Barangays Cansaga and Pitogo in Consolacion, Barangay Cotcot in Carmen, Barangay Flores in Catarmon, Barangay Bagatayan in Sogod; Barangays Look, Poblacion, Maslog and Guinacol in Danao City; Barangay Maslog, Tabogon; Barangays Sta Lucia and Poblacion in Asturias, Barangay Tungkil , Minglanilla and Baragay Mabolo in Cebu City; and Barangays Umapad, Banilad, Pakinaan and Magulkay in Mandaue City.
The NDRRMC said floods also hit Barangays Tacuranga, Cogon and Cangumbang Palo, Leyte due to heavy rains. A minor flooding was also monitored at the low-lying areas of St. Bernard, Southern Leyte due to intermittent rains, while a landslide occurred in Mahaplag-sogod road. (With a report from Mike U. Crismundo)
Floods, landslides affect thousands of Negrenses
THOUSAND of families evacuated Tuesday due to flash floods and landslides caused by rains from a low pressure area (LPA) in the province.
Based on data provided by the Provincial Disaster Management Program (PDMP), about 98 millimeters of rain fell from 8 p.m. of December 26 to 8 a.m. of December 27. This large volume of water triggered flooding in several areas in Northern Negros.
Plan your Sinulog week ahead and find out what's in store for Sinulog 2012.
The flood affected about 3,700 families in Northern Negros. In Sagay City, 2,500 families evacuated from their houses while in San Carlos City, 798 families were forced to flee their homes. In Cadiz City, 425 families were affected while in Calatrava, 30 families were reportedly affected.
Most of the evacuees returned to their respective houses Tuesday after the flood subsided.
The national highway in Barangay Fabrika, Sagay City was rendered un-passable for hours by flood waters which rose to waist-high Tuesday.
Motorists were also stranded for about six hours when the water overflowed in Himogaan River, also in Sagay City Tuesday morning.
Troops from the 62nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army as well as the local disaster risk reduction management council assisted in evacuating thousands of residents in the six barangays. The affected families were evacuated to the chapels and schools in the city proper.
In Barangay Paraiso, Sagay, 20 houses were damaged, according to a PDMP report.
A landslide also occurred in Sitio Ducog-ducog, San Carlos, which affected the flow of traffic. But as of Tuesday, the area was already passable.
Another landslide was reported in Sitio Birao, Barangay Bug-ang, Toboso, which rendered the road un-passable Tuesday.
In Calatrava, Fernando Yangco, 50 of Sitio Pagtagu-an, Barangay Ilim died after he was struck with a rock when a landslide occurred in the area. He was reportedly on his way to his farm when the incident happened.
Another farmer identified as William Abagon, 40, of Hda. San Benito, Barangay Crossing Moises Padilla was rescued by the members of the Isabela Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office.
He was reportedly crossing the river and was swept away by the strong current. He was able to swim for about three hours before the rescue team arrived. He was immediately brought to the Isabela District Hospital where he is now recuperating.
In EB Magalona, particularly in flood-prone Alicante, the water rose to knee-high but the situation remained manageable, according to Colonel Oscar Lactao, 303rd Brigade commander who instructed Philippine Army troopers to check their areas which may be affected by the continuous rain.
Meanwhile, Benjie Balesteros of the PDMP reiterated the warning to the public to still be wary even if the rains may stop for a while.
He said the rain continues to be a threat, especially to those who are residing along the riverbanks and waterways.
He urged the residents to evacuate as soon as there is indication that the water has risen to a dangerous level.
More towns flooded in Davao del Norte
DAVAO DEL NORTE, Dec. 28 (PIA)-- The weather is fair today here but floodwaters overflowing from major rivers rush through lowland areas of the province affecting three more towns and the capital city of Tagum.
As of 2:35 p.m., reports from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Division revealed that flood waters already reached the municipality of Carmen particularly in Brgy Mabaus where 27 adults and 15 children were rescued.
In Barangay Guadalupe in Carmen, floodwaters were monitored as of 2:00 p.m. to have overflowed towards the national highway, spreading towards Brgy. Bincungan in Tagum City.
This prompted Tagum City government to impose a one-way traffic to and fro Davao City as flood waters at the approach of Gov. Miranda Bridge 1 went knee-deep high, preventing light vehicles such as single motorcycles and automobiles to pass through.
In a phone interview , Tagum City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council action officer Albert Angco said that Gov. Miranda Bridge 2 known as the Maharlika Bridge served as the one-way traffic route after Gov. Miranda Bridge 1 was closed.
Davao del Norte PDRRMD also reported that flood-waters flowed through other barangays in Carmen particularly taking direction towards Ising, New Camiling, Asuncion, Salvacion and other low-lying barangays but the situation “is being closely monitored by PDRRMD staff sent on field.”
Floodwaters also reached Tagum City barangays Cuambogan, Pagsabangan, Mankilam and San Miguel, affecting a total of 3,403 based on Office of Civil Defense (OCD) 11 reports forwarded to the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) 11 as of 3:30 p.m.
Sto. Tomas barangays Talomo, Ezperanza and Salvacion were also reached by floodwaters, affecting a total of 1,028 families who were evacuated to covered courts.
OCD-11 also listed barangay Magupising of Braulio E. Dujali town among the flood-affected areas in Davao del Norte but it did not indicated the number of affected families.
The widespread flooding in Davao del Norte came about as major rivers Saug and Libuganon, and Ilog Creek overflowed due to continuous rains which occurred from Dec. 26 and Dec. 27.
The overflowing floodwaters first hit Tuesday some portions of the municipalities of Asuncion and Kapalong , and it spread through nearby barangays of New Corella.
OCD-11 monitored a total of 2,311 affected families in Asuncion town where floodwaters spread in 10 barangays specifically in Conception, Sagayen, Dona Andrea, Napungas, Sta. Felomina, Canatan, Buclad, Buan and Cabaywa.
OCD-11 noted 466 affected families in the Municipality of Kapalong where portions of nine barangays were flooded particularly in Sua-on, Florida, Semong, Tiburcia, Maniki, Sampao, Pag-asa, Gupitan and Capungagan.
In New Corella, 40 families were monitored affected by the flood waters that reached portions of barangays Limbaan, New Cortez, Poblacion, Del Pilar and Mesaoy.
PDRRM Division staff Eric Rosillo in his written report to Gov. Rodolfo P. Del Rosario as of 2:35 p.m. (Dec. 28) said that flood waters had subsided in the affected barangays of Kapalong and that families evacuated at Maniki Central Elem. School were able to return home.
Evacuated families in flood-affected areas in Asuncion and New Corella also went home when flood-waters subsided.
In a phone interview, PDRRMD action officer Sonio Sanchez bared no casualty monitored but OCD reported that mobile communication lines were down in flooded areas of Davao del Norte.
The floods also ruined 328 hectares of planted cavendish bananas in Davao del Norte and destroyed four houses in Brgy Florida, and 11 houses in Brgy. Gupitan, both in Kapalong town.
Meanwhile, OCD 11 also monitored flood-affected areas in Compostela Valley Province particularly in barangays New Visayas, Banagbanag and San Jose in Montevista town; Camiangan, Cabinuangan and Cogonon in New Bataan; and Mt. Diwata and Mabatas in Monkayo.
OCD-11 listed Compostela, Maco and Nabunturan among the flood-affected areas in Compostela Valley Province but it indicated no particular barangays.
Floods in Compostela Valley came about when Agusan River overflowed due to continuous rains that went with the low pressure area and tail-end of the cold front.
On the other hand, OCD- 11 acknowledged the cooperation of rescue teams other than those organized by the provincial governments of Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley and that of Tagum City government.
The Philippine Army, the Bureau of Fire Protection, the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao Command also took part of the rescue operations. (Jean D. Abangan)
Valencia flashfloods displace at least 1,150 families; no confirmed casualties yet
BATANGAN, Valencia City (MindaNews/27 December) – Flashfloods early Tuesday morning displaced an estimated 1,146 families in riverside barangays in the city, according to initial estimates from the City Social Welfare and Development Office, in what residents said had been the worst so far in 29 years.
Residents climbed to their roofs or the trees to wait for rescuers as rampaging waters from the Pulangi River invaded houses in 10 of the 31 barangays here. Water level went up by around four meters and had subsided by only about two meters as of Tuesday afternoon, Alejandro Larosa Jr., executive officer of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said.
Survivors fled their homes and are now temporary housed at the city gymnasium and the covered court in Barangay Batangan, one of the areas hit by the flood.
Mayor Leandro Jose Catarata told MindaNews all of those who were reported trapped Tuesday morning were rescued. He said no one has been confirmed to have drowned or died in the floods.
There were reports of three persons who drowned but nobody has come forward to give the names of the supposed victims.
The Philippine Army reported having rescued 230 persons with the use of helicopters, mostly from sitio Inawaan in Batangan where a clan, the Obugans, was holding a reunion party.
Larosa told MindaNews they had to suspend rescue operations in Barangay Catumbalon, where nine families were reported trapped as of 5p.m., as night approached. He said they will resume Wednesday morning.
Gov. Alex Calingasan announced in his speech at the Provincial Reconciliation and Peace Forum that about 300 persons were trapped in flashfloods in the city.
Meanwhile, Catarata clarified that it was actually the intake irrigation dam in Barangay San Isidro that collapsed, not the diversion dam in Lumbayao as earlier reported. He said it aggravated the strong water current downstream but stressed that heavy rains caused the river to overflow.
Jimmy Apostol, National Irrigation Administration Bukidnon manager, confirmed Catarata’s statement.
Two Philippine Air Force helicopters from Davao City bound for Cagayan de Oro City were asked to land in Malaybalay City only to be ordered to do rescue operations. With the help of another PAF helicopter from Cagayan de Oro, they airlifted residents who were trapped in Inawaan and neighboring villages.
The choppers arrived by around 10a.m. but even before they arrived local rescuers were already helping residents flee from the waters. Water rose at around 5a.m. and was reported to have started subsiding by 1p.m.
Edward Baldemiro, rescue responder at the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said residents were warned late Monday evening and early Tuesday morning but many of them ignored the warning and resisted being evacuated. He said some of the residents told them they had dealt with previous floods.
Daisy Castro, 53, who was among those rescued in Purok 2, Barangay Poblacion said they had gotten used to previous floods that were only knee- or waist-deep. She said the flood Tuesday was comparable only to the flood along the Pulangi in 1982, 29 years ago.
It was only when the water reached their roof on Tuesday morning that Castro and her neighbors began to panic.
Analyn Hernandez, 34, went to see their house washed out. She said she was afraid but she got no choice this time.
“We are glad my family is safe,” she added.
Narlita Poculan, 28, mother of two, said they were unable to grab anything.
“All I thought about was our safety. We left everything behind, anyway material things can be recovered,” she added.
The families of Castro, Hernandez, and Poculan are now in the city gymnasium, the biggest evacuation site.
“It’s our first time to evacuate but we have to do it,” Poculan said.
When asked if her family would have to return to the location of their house, she said they would go back once the floods subside.
“With what we saw on television (on the “Sendong” victims in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan), I felt the danger of the situation,” she said. “Now we have to evacuate.”
The CDRRMC still could not release initial and official figures on the floods and would not confirm reports there were casualties.
But Larosa, who led the rescue operations, said they faced residents who refused to leave their houses, including some of those they had rescued in past flashfloods.
“They refused to leave their dangerous locations,” he said.
Survivors in the evacuation sites said the experience of the flooding in Cagayan and Iligan cities as seen on television made them more alert and decide to flee ahead of the flashfloods.
“We are devastated, we lost our homes but we are luckier it happened at day time,” Fe Manangkila, 51, of Sitio Inayawan said.
Manangkila took a helicopter ride from Inawaan to the evacuation site in Batangan proper, where 363 families were housed.
At the city gym which is being used as an evacuation site for flood victims for the first time, 436 families have sought refuge.
Manangkila said most of Inawaan’s men were left in the village to guard their belongings.
“We were so afraid. It was terrifying. If it happened at night time, all of us could have been gone,” she added. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)
2 missing, 14,996 persons evacuated in 18 Caraga Region villages due to floods
BUTUAN CITY — Two minors are missing while about 14,996 individuals or about 3,049 families mostly from low-lying areas in the provinces of Surigao del Norte including its charter city, Surigao City, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur fled their homes due to flooding since Monday, the Caraga Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council initial official report as of this morning said.
Office of the Civil Defense Regional Director Dr. Blanche Gobenciong advised residents in low-lying areas especially those also living along Agusan River banks to listen to the advise of authorities to immediately leave the area if necessary.
In Barangay San Roque, Surigao City, one-year-and-seven-months old Roan Libres was reported missing while in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, a still unidentified seven-year-old boy also went missing after a river in Barangay Hagimit where the missing minor was residing, swelled.
In Butuan City, the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council reported at least 30 families in Barangay Golden Ribbon especially those living at the river banks evacuated Tuesday night after Agusan River waters rose to alarm level 2.
At alarm level 2, residents living at the river banks are advised for forced evacuation.
The Butuan City Police Office recorded 11 barangays to have been flooded with 71 families already evacuated to higher grounds.
Environmentalist groups criticized lack of political will in the relocation of nearly 15,000 individuals residing along huge Agusan River banks including removal/relocation of some 35 wood processing plants in Butuan City, which has no ECC or Environmental Compliance Certificate because the area is included in the Geo-Hazard map meaning it has high risk of flooding.
Residents including owners of wood processing plants along Agusan River have been advised by concerned government agencies.
But Butuan City Mayor Dr. Ferdinand Amante, Jr. claimed difficulty in relocating the wood processing plants which is the source of livelihood of some 16,000 city residents of Butuan City.
Meanwhile, DPWH Caraga conducted monitoring of the conditions of major roads and bridges in the different areas of the region. Maintenance Point Persons (MPPs) were dispatched in their designated area to provide assistance to travelling public. Disaster Preparedness Team and equipment are on-stand by ready for deployment when necessary.
PDRRMC Agusan del Sur dispatched its Search and Rescue Team (SARAS) to assist in the evacuation in affected municipalities.
PDRRMC Surigao del Sur was convened for an emergency meeting to establish a 24/7 monitoring and updating of information on the effect of LPA in the province as well scheduling of PDRRMC members to man its Operation Center
PDRRMC Surigao del Norte and CDRRMC Surigao convened to preposition their resources and activate response mechanisms. Local DRRM Operation Centers closely monitored the situation and coordinated with concerned agencies for appropriate action.
On the other hand, Department of Education Provincial offices of affected provinces were advised to prepare schools as evacuation centers. (PNA)
Waters rise in Bacolod as rain pours
Water rose to waist level in some areas in Bacolod City following the continuous downpour of rain brought about by a tropical depression and led to the evacuation of six families in Purok Golda, Brgy. Estefania.
Sally Abelarde, City Social Services and Development head, yesterday said the six families have evacuated to the Brgy. Estefania barangay hall and were provided assistance.
Their children were brought to neighboring residences located in higher level areas, DSSD Social Officer 4/Field Operations Chief Felilia Caras and Social Welfare Officer II, Elizabeth Caumban, said.
The six families had reportedly returned to their homes last night.
Joemarie Vargas, City Disaster Risk Reduction Management officer, said the water level in Purok Golda was up to his waist when they arrived in the area early yesterday morning but this subsided to about 3-feet high when the rain stopped.
He said two families in Purok Maniniyon in Florenceville, Brgy. Pahanocoy also left their homes yesterday morning and temporarily stayed with their neighbors when water level rose to about 4-feet high. They, too, returned to their homes yesterday, he added.
Vargas said water in the Mandalagan bridge rose to critical levels and caused flooding in Purok Carvic but the water subsided after an hour.
Water level in Purok Planeta, Brgy. Taculing and Brgy. 3 also rose to about 2-feet high, as well as in Barangays 4 and 6, Purok Riverside in Banago, Brgy. 17 in Bata, Lopue’s East, Araneta Street near the Sugar Regulatory Administration, Bangga Cory in Mansilingan, and other areas.
Vargas and his team worked round-the-clock yesterday in close coordination with the Department of Social Services Development to help families in various barangays who were affected by flood.
He said the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Response Team met yesterday and decided that in case the rain continued, they will raise the alert status from level 1 to 2 or 3 if needed. However, despite the cloudy skies, the rains had moved towards Panay and into the Sulu Sea as of last night, he added.
Vargas said they are thankful that, despite the rains, the situation in Bacolod City has remained manageable compared to other areas in the province.*CGS
80 children rescued from flood in Davao del Norte
TAGUM CITY, Philippines—At least 80 children from this city were rescued after being trapped in the floods that inundated parts of the town of Kapalong in Davao del Norte where they were attending a youth camp on Tuesday, Kapalong Mayor Edgardo Timbol said.
Timbol said the children were participating in a youth camp in Barangay Florida when the floods struck at 2 a.m.
“The children are now safe. They were to be sent home to Tagum City,” Timbol told the Inquirer by phone.
Kapalong was among several Davao del Norte towns inundated by floods of up to four feet in some areas that were triggered by a low-pressure area.
In Barangay Florida alone, four houses were destroyed as the Saug, Ilog and Libuganon rivers overflowed, Timbol said.
About 300 families were evacuated and are now temporarily staying at the Kapalong municipal gym, he said.
Eric Rosillo of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Committee said a total of 1,762 families had been evacuated provincewide due to the floods.
Rosillo said no flood casualty has been reported so far although some road networks were inaccessible for several hours due to the floods.
In Bukidnon, some 400 families were also assisted in their evacuation by Valencia City authorities after the Pulangui River swelled and submerged several villages on Tuesday, said Arsenio Alagenio of the Bukidnon disaster mitigation council.
Alagenio said some residents living along the swollen river were initially trapped when the water level suddenly rose but they were rescued by elements of the Philippine Air Force.
In Cotabato City, hundreds of residents of Punol Island, a sandbar, had also been evacuated following the swelling of the Pulangui River.
The Pulangui River is part of the system that feeds water to the Rio Grande de Mindanao, which empties into the sea in Cotabato City.
Cotabato City Mayor Japal Guiani Jr. said aside from Punol residents, families living in the low-lying villages of Poblacion 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7 were also evacuated.
The evacuees were temporarily housed at the Cotabato City Central Elementary School and at the Mega Market area.
“This is disaster preparedness in case the floodwaters come at night. We don’t want the experience of our neighbors in Cagayan (de Oro) and Iligan repeated because they were caught flat-footed,” said Sam Mundas, the city’s action officer.
In Magpet, North Cotabato, Mayor Efren Piñol also ordered local officials to activate their disaster response teams in anticipation of landslides due to the abnormal weather pattern.
Piñol said the villages of Manobisa, Imamaling, Ilian, Magcaalam, Bongolanon, Bantac, Pangao-an, Sallab and Doles had been identified landslide-prone areas.
He said residents living near creeks had also been warned of possible floods because of the torrential rains. Reports from Frinston Lim, Cai Panlilio, Charlie Señase and Williamor Magbanua, Inquirer Mindanao
Sunda Plate tsunami:
Waves destroy 26 houses in Aklan
ILOILO CITY, Philippines – The municipality of New Washington in Aklan province was placed under state of calamity after big waves destroyed 26 seaside houses in the coastal municipality.
Town Mayor Edgar Peralta said they placed the town under a state of calamity so they could use the calamity fund in repairing the damaged infrastructures, including the seawall that protects housing structures in the area.
Apart from the damaged houses, several commercial establishments have been affected by the swelling seawater. Residents were obliged to put up piles of sandbags along the coastlines.
Death toll from Sendong is second to 1976 tsunami deaths in Mindanao
DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/27 December) – The death toll from typhoon Sendong’s “tsunami in reverse” in Northern Mindanao last week is the second highest in Mindanao in 35 years, second only to the death toll from the 1976 tsunami along the Moro Gulf.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) report as of 2 p.m. December 27 placed the death toll nationwide at 1,249 with 84 missing; 4,594 injured; 12,805 houses totally damaged and 29,520 partially damaged.
Mindanao posted the highest with 1,208 deaths; 66 missing; 4,561 injured; 11,406 houses totally damaged and 23,168 partially damaged.
The riverside barangays of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities were the hardest hit, with Presidential Adviser for Environmental Protection saying they “stood no chance to the torrent, the onslaught of large volumes of water and mud.”
Acosta, who joined President Aquino during an aerial survey of the devastation in the two cities on December 20, described it as “like a tsunami in reverse-from coast to sea, a tsunami from the uplands.”
A number of the areas hit, in fact were disasters waiting to happen as officials ignored the geo-hazard assessments and recommendations, prompting President Aquino to order geo-hazard areas as “no go zones.”
Thirty-five years earlier, the tsunami of 1976 was “the most disastrous” experienced by the Philippines, affecting 700 kilometers of coastline bordering the Moro Gulf. “About 8,000 were dead or missing. About 10,000 were injured and about 90,000 were homeless,” the report on the “Moro Gulf Tsunami of 17 August 1976” written in 1978, said.
The tsunami affected the coastal areas of Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and the cities of Cotabato, Zamboanga and Pagadian.
About 95% of the deaths were due to the tsunami, the rest from the 8.2 magnitude earthquake, the 1978 report written by Fr. Victor L. Badillo and Zinnia C. Astilla, of the Manila Observatory for the Special Committee on Tsunami Warning System, National Committee on Marine Sciences and the National Science Development Board, said.
The report noted there had been “more severe tsunamis, but areas hit were less populated and had less man-made structures.”
“Potentially a great disaster area”
“A natural disaster is not merely a geophysical event but a human one as well. If any projection can be made it is this: What is now barren will be densely populated. Empty beaches will be filled with residences, tourist facilities, hotels, factories, power plants, etc.. Offshore, there will not be merely seaweed and oyster farms and fish corrals but also storage facilities, tank farms and the like. Thus, a tsunami prone coast is potentially a great disaster area,” the 1978 report warned.
The report recommended that an “immediate and realizable goal” would be “to require local officials to prepare local inundation maps” which are basically “a street map of a town with dangerous areas to be evacuated crosshatched.”
“These maps can be drawn empirically by knowing which areas were inundated by past tsunamis. If there are contour maps available, one can determine all areas below a chosen height above sea level, for example six meters, as places to be evacuated,” the report said.
The maps, it added, could also be useful to “engineers, architects, land use planners, building code drafters, insurance agencies and the like.”
The report stressed that it is “impossible” for a national agency to provide warning to inhabitants about to be hit by a tsunami generated by a local earthquake.
“It would be fatal to wait for a radio broadcast and the like before moving into action. There is already a warning available, one provided by nature herself – the violent shock of an earthquake. If the shock is violent enough so that it is difficult to stand or walk then it is time to seek higher ground at once. Going to a higher ground will not mean going a long distance if local inundation maps exist and are known,” the report said.
But the report also noted that “it is one thing to have these maps and quite an altogether different thing for people to use them. What becomes clear is that education is needed, an extremely difficult task, a never finished task.”
Learning lessons, Lessening losses
The report was prepared precisely to present findings about the 1976 tsunami “for a better understanding of it and that steps may be taken to lessen loss of lives and property in future tsunamis.”
Days after the March 11, 2011 tsunami in Japan, MindaNews was able to reach Badillo, a Jesuit priest, astronomer, former director of the Manila Observatory (an asteroid was named in his honor in 2005 for having popularized astronomy in the Philippines), and inquired from him if government heeded their recommendations 33 years ago.
Badillo told MindaNews that the 1978 report “was written to be presented, and was presented, to an international meeting on tsunamis held in Manila” but “I do not know what has been done (to the recommendations).”
He said local inundation maps “are really easy to make. The storm surge hazard maps are a good start. What is needed is to use a street map and superpose on it a map that shows the heights above sea level… both of which already exist. Then on the assumption of a three meter height wave, one can see where one can run to.”
“Tsunamis are rare. More frequent are fires, storm surges. Do we have fire drills? We need to develop a mentality of preparedness for all hazards. When we enter a movie house or a place with many people, the first thing to do is look for the fire exits. And check if the fire exits are not locked! In the US more people die per year in traffic accidents than in the entire Vietnam War where soldiers are there to shoot and be shot. And most within five miles from home. I wonder what the figures are for the Philippines,” he said.
Badillo added that “the submarine earthquakes that cause tsunami in the Moro Gulf and nearby have an average interval of about 17 years. So the area is already pregnant.”
The 1978 report had warned that ”what is now barren will be densely populated. Empty beaches will be filled with residences, tourist facilities, hotels, factories, power plants, etc.. ….Thus, a tsunami prone coast is potentially a great disaster area.”
In March this year, Badillo said, “we cannot wait for national action. I believe the local units should take the initiative. Making the maps will not cost anything. It is having the drills that may cost money.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)
Nakhon Si Thammarat on high alert for evacuation after stronger wave warning
NAKHON SI THAMMARAT, Dec 28 – The southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat is prepared to evacuate coastal areas after a warning from the government’s disaster response agency Wednesday morning.
The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department warned seaside residents that ocean waves will intensify Dec 29-30, while strong, high waves continue to pummel shoreline in Thailand’s southern provinces, causing damage to coastal houses.
Nakhon Si Thammrat Governor Wirote Jiwarangsan and local Red Cross officials visited residents on the Taloompuk peninsula in Pak Phanang district where the situation is still worrying and wave keeps striking shore communities, which continue to take a beating with flooding in a number of seaside villages.
Some villagers evacuated to higher roadside areas seeking shelter from possibly encroaching water.
The governor distributed relief supplies to local residents and advised them to pay close attention to weather news. Small fishing boats are advised to stay ashore.
The provincial administrative organisation has provided proper temporary shelters for evacuees and provided them with initial assistance. (MCOT online news)
Police advise to stay away from beaches beaches
KUALA TERENGGANU: Terengganu police chief Datuk Jamshah Mustapa has advised the public to stay away from the beaches in Besut, Dungun and Kemaman, which have been eroded by huge waves caused by unusually high tides.
“People should be alert and cautious because these places are dangerous and it would be difficult to carry out rescue operations there if anything untoward happened,” he said when contacted by Bernama here, yesterday.
Jamshah also requested parents to monitor the whereabouts of their children and forbid them from going to the affected areas.
On Monday, Bernama reported on the high-tide phenomenon which caused huge waves, one of the worst in the past 50 years. — Bernama