Christmas Day rains, flooding kill 13 – OCD

Seven more people were added to the government’s list of people who died due to intense rains and flooding brought by a shearline and the northeast monsoon (amihan) during the Christmas weekend which brought the death toll to 13, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said Tuesday, Dec. 27.

Philippine Coast Guard personnel conduct rescue operation to save residents caught in a deep flood due to a shearline that brought intense rains in Misamis Occidental on Dec. 25, 2022. (Photo by PCG)

Diego Agustin Mariano, head of OCD joint information center, said most of the fatalities were recorded in Misamis Occidental in Northern Mindanao (Region 10) with seven; three people died in Bicol Region (Region 5); two in Eastern Visayas (Region 8); and one in Zamboanga Peninsula (Region 9).

Of the seven new deaths, two were logged in Oroquieta, Misamis Occidental and they were identified as Elenita Calamian, 43, and Mario Sambiog, 70. The causes of their death have yet to be validated.

In Virac, Catanduanes, Ariel Araojo, 43, drowned and his body was found only on Dec. 26 in Rapu-Rapu, Albay.

In San Roque, Northern Samar, Jimmy Adante, 47, who had been reported missing, was confirmed to have drowned while Pablo Cerbito, 43, also drowned.

A certain Concepcion Carpio also drowned in Zamboanga City and her body was found in Brgy. Zambowood.

Lastly, 18-year-old Laurence Cajelo died in Gingoog, Misamis Oriental but the cause of his death was still undergoing validation.

“Ang datos as of now, mayroon pong 13 na namatay. Karamihan ay for validation, ang kulang na lang ay mga papeles like police report or death certificate. Itong 13 may body count na, may nakuha ng cadaver kaya lang for validation dahil kulang ng papeles (Based on the data now, we have 13 deaths. Most of them are still for validation since they still lack documents such as police report or death certificate. For the 13 deaths, we have retrieved bodies but they are still for validation because of the lack in documents),” Mariano said in a Laging Handa press briefing.

A total of 44,282 families or 166,357 individuals have also been affected by the rains and flooding across Mimaropa (Region 4B), Region 5, 8, 9, 10, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). Of the number, 10,536 families composed of 45,337 individuals were temporarily living in evacuation centers.

There were 23 people who were also reported missing in the affected areas: 12 in Region 8, eight in Region 5, and three in Region 10. Most of them were fishermen who failed to return to their homes after venturing into the sea amid the bad weather.

There were six people who were also reported to have been injured in Regions 10 and 9.

Damage to agriculture has also reached P58,829,614, affecting Bicol Region and Northern Mindanao. Meanwhile, damage to infrastructure was pegged at P14.58 million.

Search and rescue

Mariano said search and rescue (SAR) operations for the missing persons were being conducted by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and concerned local government units (LGUs).

In Misamis Occidental which is one of the most affected provinces, Gov. Henry Oaminal said rescue workers have been conducting SAR operations non-stop since Dec. 24.

But the province was still experiencing light rains, making the SAR operations difficult.

“The rains started on Dec. 24 and intensified at midnight of Dec. 25. We did not expect, we were not able to have that preparedness in terms of rescue because the what was included in the orange rainfall warning of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) for that day were only the provinces of Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboangal del Norte. Misamis Occidental was not included),” Oaminal said in an interview over dzMM.

Nonetheless, Oaminal said the provincial government was doing its best to reach isolated areas such as the hinterland barangay of Tudela in Clarin municipality which was hit by a landslide.

Oaminal said the local government was already studying the declaration of a state of calamity due to the extent of damage in the province.

So far, only the local government of Gingoog in MisamisOriental has declared a state of calamity due to the effects of the rains and flooding, according to Mariano.