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'Amang' brings floods, landslides in Bicol

Raging flood waters in landslide-hit Manito, Albay
Photo via Kasurog Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY -- Rains brought by Tropical Storm "Amang" triggered flooding and landslides in several towns in the provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes -- including the cities of Naga and Legazpi -- Saturday evening up to whole day Sunday, rendering road networks in these areas to be temporarily closed and stranding hundreds of commuters, the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) said.

Bernardo Alejandro, RDRRMC chairperson and Office of Civil Defense Bicol regional director, said in a phone interview that landslide also hit the adjacent Barangay Inang Maharang and Barangay Nagotgot, remote villages in Manito town in Albay where three houses along mountain slopes were reportedly buried by the landslide although their occupants were able to rush to safety. Alejandro said he dispatched a helicopter to assess the damage cause by the landslide and validate a report that 10 people were buried there alive.

Fortunately, he said, the report was not true.

The area is 15 kilomters from Manito town proper and one and one-half hours' drive from this city.

In Catanduanes, a major landslide occurred in a road network in Barangay Sagrada in Viga town, and Barangay Balatohan, San Miguel town, Chief Inspector Malu Calubaquib, Philippines National Police (PNP) Bicol spokesperson, said.

He said all national roads within the region are passable, except for the Cabuluan bridge in Sta Elena, Camarines Norte; the Caramoran road and bridge in Caramoran town, Catanduanes; and the Pajo Baguio to Antipolo road section in Virac, Catanduanes.

As a precautionary measure, power was deliberately cutoff in all provinces affected by Amang since Saturday evening and was restored as soon as the weather improved, Alejandro said.

Hit by flooding were the towns of Nabua, Presentacion, Caramoan and Tinambac towns and Naga City in Camarines Sur; Manito, Malilipot and Malinao towns and Legazpi City in Alba, Pandan, Viga, Caramoran, and Virac towns in Catanduanes.

Some 2,541 families or 6,324 people in flood and landslide-prone villages were evacuated to higher grounds.

A PNP report indicated that some 5,291 passengers mostly in Matnog port in Sorsogon (2,538), 604 vehicles and seven sea vessels are still stranded in seaports due to the “no sailing” policy on stormy weather. (Mar Arguelles, PNA) 

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