By LaLaine M. JiMenea
ORMOC CITY – Two people were confirmed dead from Typhoon Urduja, and 9 other reported missing in Ormoc City, while a f inal figure for the fatalities in Region 08 has yet to be issued by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (NDRRMO). The fatalities and the missing The fatalities were identified as Juanita Cabilla of Purok 3 in Brgy. Tongonan who was buried in a landslide that happened evening of Friday (December 15) yet, and Jeddan Gucela, 23, a young resident of Tzu Chi village in Brgy. Liloan, who was helping rescue neighbors and was swept away by rampaging waters.
The death of one Tzu Chi resident from a heart attack was ruled not typhoon related, while another woman who reportedly fell into a manhole at Brgy. Tambulilid was found to be alive. of the 802nd Brigade and the Ormoc City Police Off ice, they went the rounds of the city’s flood prone barangay to appeal that people evacuate. Sr. Supt. Ramil Ramirez, PNP city director, said it was frustrating because people mocked his men. “Kabalo man mi manglangoy,” they were told in Brgy. San Juan.
Meanwhile, six other residents of the Tzu Chi Love Village have been reported missing. They are Mary Ann Dalag, Melo and Billy Bañez, Daisy Ann Verallos, and, Jay and Maria Clara Butad. They were reportedly swept away by the floodwaters as they tried to cross over to their 3-in-1 building in the afternoon of Saturday, December 16.
Another three are presumed missing after they were swept away by floodwaters at the highway in Brgy. Liloan, while rescuers tried to help them. Three others who clung to a coconut tree by the road were later rescued with the use of a road grader.
The two fatalities could have been avoided, it was pointed out, if Tongonan had heeded the recommendation of the barangay to totally evacuate as the July 6 earthquake has made their village prone to landslides, and if Tzu Chi village was not allowed to become a relocation area.
Situated on a flood plain, Tzu Chi ignored warning of possible floods because it has already been years since the last one.
Pre-emptive evacuation, rescuers laughed at
Mayor Richard Gomez ordered pre-emptive evacuation to be done on the evening of Friday (December 15). The Ormoc Rescue said they did not have the chance to enjoy their Christmas party anymore because of the mission.
Together with members of the 802nd Brigade and the Ormoc City Police Off ice, they went the rounds of the city’s flood prone barangay to appeal that people evacuate.
Sr. Supt. Ramil Ramirez, PNP city director, said it was frustrating because people mocked his men. “Kabalo man mi manglangoy,” they were told in Brgy. San Juan.
Marites Libre, a Tzu Chi volunteer-leader, said that some neighbors in the Yolanda relocation site refused to evacuate, even just to the 3-in-1 building where she and other neighbors evacuated. “Anang Biernes sa gabie, daghan rescuers … daghan Army, mga police, dili gyod sila mamalhin. Gusto na mamakwit gahapon (on Saturday afternoon) pero di naman katabok ang mga rescuers,” she said.
She said that they were unscathed at the 3-in-1 building, it being on a higher ground than the houses. The Tzu Chi Village is home to 1,835 families, she said.
Inconsiderate people did not only make the lives of the rescuers miserable, but also animals. A rescuer from the Philippine Coast Guard, Arman Pahil, was bitten on the neck by a snake. He was confined at the Ormoc Doctors Hospital. His hospital bill was footed by the government.
State of Calamity
The Sangguniang Panlungsod declared Ormoc under a “state of calamity” after an emergency session held evening of Saturday. During the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council meeting held earlier of the emergency session, it was reported that at least 20 barangays were badly affected by floods. 4,867 families, or 20,198 people are now in 21 evacuation areas. Dante Albarico of the City Agricultural Office reported that around 80 percent of Ormoc’s ricelands is affected. City engineer Ranie Oliveros estimates the damage to infrastructure at P71-million.
Mayor Gomez, after hearing the report, asked civic organizations to help the government in managing the donation drive and relief distribution.
He put the Ormoc City Chamber of Commerce on top on the donation drive, as well as the dispatching of the relief goods, just like the earthquake donation drive.
Ormocanons come together
By Saturday afternoon, private individuals and civic organizations were f irst to respond to Mayor Gomez’s call to help repack relief goods for distribution. First to arrive were Red Cross Youth volunteers, the Ormoc youth, Ormoc Ultimate and Ormoc Supreme Lions Clubs, together with the Kiwanis Club of GeoOrmoc.
The Rotary Club of Ormoc, through past president Troy Bumagat, was fast to lend a winged van. Others who came were volunteers from Eclipse and Big Roy’s.
The Rotary Club of Ormoc Bay (RCOB) also helped in the repacking, and distributed the relief goods for Brgy. San Juan by Sunday. The club also donated relief goods, and Apple Anido-Alagon of Milagrina is spearheading a donation for clothes.
This developed as RCOB president Bjorn reported that people in Brgy. San Juan complained their clothes were washed away
by the floodwaters and they nary had something dry to change.
Councilor Vincent Rama, on the other hand, allowed city health doctors to conduct their post mortem of the typhoon fatalities at the V. Rama morgue .