Friday, August 04, 2006

Flash flood wipes out family of four, one still missing

BALINGASAG, MISAMIS ORIENTAL (MIKE BAÑOS / Aug 3) – The flash flood which rampaged through this town and two other adjacent municipalities Wednesday dawn wiped out an entire family of four.

The remains of the wife of a farmer who drowned in Wednesday's flash flood in this municipality was recovered around 10AM today by rescue teams in Macajalar Bay while the bodies of their two children were recovered in the seas off Camiguin island late Thursday afternoon. Neil's remains were recovered at Baliti, Sagay while Joy's body was found in Cantaan, Guinsiliban.

Teddy Sabugaa, acting provincial social welfare officer, said residents believe Ronald Ayuman, his wife Ana Marie and children Joy, 3 and Neil, seven months, were crossing the Balatukan River in Bgy. Kibanban when they were swept away by a flash flood which struck around 4:30AM Wednesday.

Ayuman's remains were fished out of the Balatukan river late yesterday afternoon by the Rescue 2000 team led by Michael Bustamante. The family's remains will be interred tomorrow.

Sabugaa said another farmer identified only as Jamiro from Bgy. Talusan, Balingasag remains missing as of Thursday afternoon.

Provincial Board Member Jaime Caina inspected the damage to infrastructure yesterday and estimates the flash flood caused P20-million in damages to a dike and spillways. Region 10 agriculture director Bebot Rudinas was also in the area and estimates losses to livestock and agriculture could reach P3-4 million. All the crops in the farming village of Napiliran were wiped out by floodwaters and at least 19 houses destroyed in Balingasag alone.

The flash flood hit three municipalities: Sugbungcogon, Lagonglong and Balingasag, hometown of Misamis Orienal Gov. Oscar Moreno. Balingasag was the hardest hit of the three with Cogon, Napiliran and the lowland barangays of Binitinan, Mandangua, Talusan, Tulay Grande and San Isidro. Also hit was Bgy Kauswagan in Lagonglong and some portions of Sugbongcogon along the river.

Sabugaa said some 181 families were affected in Balingasag and 150 in Lagonglong where Mayor Jovenal Puertas Jr. evacuated villagers to the Lagonglong Multi-Purpose Court since the floodwaters had already risen to three feet.Balingasag vice mayor Alexis Quina called an emergency meeting of the Sangguniang Bayan today to declare the municipality a disaster area to enable the local government to access its 5% calamity fund.

Caina said in a radio interview heavy rains started to pour around 11:00PM Tuesday but flood waters started surging around midnight when the dike was breached. However, the flash flood only struck around 4:30AM after the dike was believed to have collapsed under the sheer volume of the rainwater.

Pag-asa senior weather specialist Leo Rodriguez, Sr. said the three-feet height of the floodwaters indicates heavy rains of four hours or more. He said the speed with which the flood waters rose and overcame the flood dike indicates a cloudburst, or a sudden heavy fall of rain from a cumulo-nimbus cloud with a rate of fall exceeding or greater than 100 millimeters ( 3.94 inches) per hour.

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