800,000 in Mindanao affected by ‘Agaton’
Manila, Philippines – The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Tuesday said 27 areas in Mindanao have been placed under a state of calamity as heavy rains continued to wreak havoc in southern Philippines.
More than 800,000 people have been affected by tropical depression “Agaton” which has now weakened to a low-pressure area (LPA).
Weathermen said the LPA over Mindanao continued to threaten Eastern Visayas, still reeling from the devastation inflicted by super howler Yolanda in November, with flash floods and landslides.
Latest bulletin released by the NDRRMC indicated Agusan del Norte is now included in the list of areas under a state of calamity due to massive flooding and landslides that have killed more than 40 people in different parts of Mindanao.
Other areas under state of calamity are the province of Lanao Del Norte, Iligan City, Kapalong, Carmen, Asuncion, New Corella, and Tagum City – all in Davao del Norte; Tarragona, Manay, Caraga, Baganga, Cateel, and Boston – all in Davao Oriental;
Sta. Josefa, Sibagat, Bunawan, San Francisco, Esperanza, Veruela, Trento, and Rosario in Agusan del Sur; Butuan City; and Lianga, Tago, San Miguel, and Bislig in Surigao del Sur.
By sundown yesterday, the NDRRMC said 739 houses were totally destroyed, while 1,278 others were partially damaged due to unabated floods and landslides that left eight people still missing.
The NDRRMC said of the 168,492 families or 809,686 people affected in 804 villages in 15 provinces in Mindanao, 43,417 families or 203,022 persons were displaced and housed inside 565 evacuation centers.
Weathermen said the LPA off the waters of Mindanao has a 50-50 chance of re-intensification as it remains almost stationary over the Philippine Sea.
Manny Mendoza, weather forecaster of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, said the LPA continued to move slowly but erratically on Tuesday.
“The LPA slightly moved away from the country Tuesday morning but moved closer again to Davao City by noon,” he said.
The LPA was at 465 kms east of Davao City by noon Tuesday.
PAGASA has been keeping track of the LPA’s movement since almost two weeks ago.
The weather disturbance has been dumping rains since January 10, moving up and down across the Visayas and Mindanao.
It intensified into a tropical depression last January 17 but weakened into an LPA last January 20.
Mendoza said some weather forecast models show the LPA may re-intensify, while some show that it may maintain its strength.
He said the LPA will bring cloudy skies with moderate to occasional heavy rains and thunderstorms over Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, Biliran, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Compostela Valley, and Davao Oriental.
PAGASA warned residents in these areas against possible flash floods and landslides.
Meanwhile, light to moderate rains and thunderstorms will prevail over the rest of Visayas and Mindanao.
Strong to gale force northeasterly surface wind flow associated with the surge of the northeast monsoon is expected to affect the seaboards of Luzon, Visayas and Caraga region.
PAGASA advised small seacraft and fishing vessels not to venture out into the sea due to big waves generated by the northeast monsoon.