Cagayan de Oro has zero casualties from STS Vinta

Dec 25, 2017

by Cheng Ordoñez

 

Moreno: When residents cooperate, lives will be saved

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — The lessons from the harrowing experience of typhoon Sendong which killed some 3,000 people in 2011, helped save lives as Severe Tropical Storm Vinta lashed Northern Mindanao on Dec.22, 2017.

Ysalina (Carmen) Bridge was closed to all traffic at the high water mark of the STS Vinta floodwaters which threatened to inundate the bridge (City Information Office)

Ysalina (Carmen) Bridge was closed to all traffic at the high water mark of the STS Vinta floodwaters which threatened to inundate the bridge (City Information Office)

 

City Mayor Oscar Moreno said the Sendong experience taught residents to heed the call of the local government to evacuate ahead before the storm made landfall Thursday and Friday.

“The readiness of the community had really resulted in preventing the loss of lives,” Moreno said during a press briefing at the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Department (CDR­RMD) Friday evening.

“We have seen how the cooperation of the people can save lives,” he added.

The first floor of residence flooded by the oveflowing Cagayan River (City Information Office)

The first floor of residence flooded by the oveflowing Cagayan River (City Information Office)

Earlier, when Super Typhoon Pablo (International Name: Bopha) hit Cagayan de Oro on Dec. 3-4, 2012, barely a year after Sendong, Cagayan de Oro attained zero casualties largely thanks to pre-emptive evacuation by the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Department (CDRRMD) and its member agencies.

In a live guesting at DXIM Radyo ng Bayan on October 11, 2013, CDRRMD chair, Col. Mario Verner S. Monsanto said that through the early warning systems of DOST and close coordination with the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) there was zero casualty during typhoon Pablo.

As of October 2013, monitoring stations have been installed in the area which includes rain gauges in Baungon, Libona, Talakag and Kinawe, Bukidnon. Water level sensors are also mounted at Kauswagan, Pelaez, Cabula, Golden Mile, San Simon and Bubunawan bridges, said Monsanto.(PIA, 2013)

Raging floodwaters brought by STS Vinta overflow the protective river dike in Barangay Carmen at the high water mark around noontime Dec. 22 (City Infomation Office)

Raging floodwaters brought by STS Vinta overflow the protective river dike in Barangay Carmen at the high water mark around noontime Dec. 22 (City Infomation Office)

According to PAGASA, Super Typhoon Pablo, was the strongest to hit Mindanao in two decades making landfall as a Category 5 super typhoon with winds of 175 mph (280 km/h). The storm caused widespread destruction on Mindanao, leaving thousands of people homeless and killed 1,901 people.

 

This time, the CDRRMC under the operational command of Allan Porcadilla took full cognizance of the imminent threat of STS Vinta and ordered Code Red (forced evacuation) of flood-prone areas as early as 8:30am on Dec. 22.

A PH Coast Guard rescue team in action at the peak of STS Vinta's floodwaters from Cagayan River noontime Dec 22 in Cagayan de Oro City (photo by Froilan Gallardo)

A PH Coast Guard rescue team in action at the peak of STS Vinta’s floodwaters from Cagayan River noontime Dec 22 in Cagayan de Oro City (photo by Froilan Gallardo)


On top of that, multiple rescue groups from the AFP, PNP, Oro Rescue, BFP and Cagayan de Oro Volunteer Fire Brigade and other civic groups were quick to respond to calls for rescue from stranded residents trapped by rising floodwaters in their homes through the radio net coordinated by the CDRRMD.

 

For its part, the City Information Office headed by Maricel Casiño Rivera coordinated round-the-clock alerts advisories to residents and flood prone areas assisted by the City Hall Press Corps media reporters through their respective outlets, as well as coordinating distress calls received by their network with the CDRRMC central control.

 

A policeman carries a child to safety in Consolacion Village, Cagayan de Oro City following heavy rains brought by STS Vinta. (JB DeVeza)

A policeman carries a child to safety in Consolacion Village, Cagayan de Oro City following heavy rains brought by STS Vinta. (JB DeVeza)

The Police Regional Office 10 (PRO 10) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) based here deployed over 1,000 law enforcement officers to help rescuers from government and private volunteer in the search and rescue operations in the region following the devastation caused by Vinta.

 

Police officers & government rescuers assist villagers in Cagayan de Oro City find safer grounds as floodwaters from STS Vinta (Tembin) rise Friday, Dec 22, 2017. (Jigger Jerusalem,davaotoday.com)

Police officers & government rescuers assist villagers in Cagayan de Oro City find safer grounds as floodwaters from STS Vinta (Tembin) rise Friday, Dec 22, 2017. (Jigger Jerusalem,davaotoday.com)

PRO 10 spokesperson Supt. Lemuel Gonda said the police officers were deployed to flood-prone areas to help civilians evacuate from their homes in areas hit by the storm here in Northern Mindanao.

Cagayan de Oro City police director Sr. Supt. Roy Bahian said those deployed in this city were all accounted for and sustained only minor wounds during the rescue operations.

A policeman brings a young girl to safety in Cagayan de Oro City Friday after the Cagayan River overflowed after Tropical Storm Vinta spawned raging floodwaters. (JB Deveza, AFP)

A policeman brings a young girl to safety in Cagayan de Oro City Friday after the Cagayan River overflowed after Tropical Storm Vinta spawned raging floodwaters. (JB Deveza, AFP)

Most of the Christmas parties were called off Friday after three bridges were closed to traffic.

Casiño-Rivera said as of Saturday morning, there was no reported casualty as a result of the storm. As of Friday, there were 3,884 displaced families (14,667 individuals) — 2,751 of them children from 22 barangays who sought shelter in 27 evacuation centers.

 

An Philippine Army rescue team aboard a rubber boat responds to a distress call at Acacia Street, Bgy Carmen during the height of STS Vinta's fury around noon Dec 22 (photo by Froilan Gallardo)

An Philippine Army rescue team aboard a rubber boat responds to a distress call at Acacia Street, Bgy Carmen during the height of STS Vinta’s fury around noon Dec 22 (photo by Froilan Gallardo)

Among the villages that were hit hard by Vinta were Macasandig, Balulang, Cugman, Consolacions and Iponan. These were the same barangays that suffered casualties when Sendong struck the city on Dec. 16, 2011.

Social Welfare and Development (CSWD) officer Teddy Sabuga-a said this is the first time that the BDRRMCs had put up community kitchens so that the displaced villagers were able to eat hot meals while staying in the evacuation sites.

Some residents stranded on the roof deck of their house flooded by STS Vinta (photo courtesy of Kim D. Zaldivar)

Some residents stranded on the roof deck of their house flooded by STS Vinta (photo courtesy of Kim D. Zaldivar)


“Our evacuees did not find it hard to cook their meals because of these kitchens, which proved to be helpful since food packs coming from various agencies need to be cooked,” he said.

Sabuga-a said they also prepared second evacuation centers in the event the primary sites will be flooded.

The unsinkable lechon is delivered to its final destination somewhere in Mabini St., Cagayan de Oro City, regardless of floodwaters spawned by STS Vinta (photo courtesy of Terence Jerome C. Maceren)

The unsinkable lechon is delivered to its final destination somewhere in Mabini St., Cagayan de Oro City, regardless of floodwaters spawned by STS Vinta (photo courtesy of Terence Jerome C. Maceren)


Many of these secondary evacuation centers are located in school buildings with roof decks which were designed to accommodate dozens of familieswho may be displaced due to calamities. (with reports from the Phil. Information Agency. City Information Office & wires)

 

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