Zamboanga del Norte flood death toll rises to 10; child remains missing

IPIL, Zamboanga Sibugay -- The death toll in the flood that submerged five towns in nearby Zamboanga del Norte the past four days has increased to 10 as another person was recovered dead while a child remained missing as of Friday.

Supt. Charise Yabo, Zamboanga del Norte police chief for community relations, said that they have yet to determine the identify the person who was recovered dead Friday in Roxas town.

The cadaver was the seventh fatality recorded in Roxas town while three others were from the towns of Katipunan, Manukan and Rizal.

Those who perished from the floods were Jeffrey Gamtiao, 35; Pepe Randes, 57; Rene Tuganan, 24; Lean Denise, 5; Arann Zurc, 3; Christine Etam, 7, all of Roxas town; Jomar Rivera, 14, of Katipunan; Dominador Meraveles, 80, of Manukan; and, Paterno Lazos, 76, Rizal.

Still missing is Jeremie Tawat, 7, of Barangay Mate, Manukan municipality.

The flood spawned by heavy downpour from Monday until Thursday has inundated 17 barangays in the towns of Jose Dalman, Roxas, PiAan, Katipunan, and Labason.

Twelve people were reported injured in the municipality of Jose Dalman.

Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Region 9 Director Manuel Luis Ochotorena disclosed that the number of casualties was high due to complacency of the communities despite warnings from authorities to seek refuge.

The victims were swept by strong current when rivers swelled and overflowed due to torrential rains.

In a phone interview, former Dipolog City Councilor James Verduguez said weather condition in Zamboanga del Norte only improved a bit on Friday.

It rained heavily from Jan. 16 - 19 across the Zamboanga del Norte province.

Early on, the towns of Roxas and Jose Dalman were placed under the state of calamity due to severe effects of the flood.

Roxas Mayor Jan Henrick Vallecer said that at least PhP 100 million worth of agricultural products, livestock and properties were destroyed in his town.

Jose Dalman Mayor Rachel Ferrater said they have yet to determine the worth of destruction caused by the flood in their turf.

Ferrater said partial report received by his office showed that 250 hectares of agricultural land planted to banana, corn, cassava, rice and cacao were destroyed.

Ochotorena said they have yet to assess the extent of damage to crops and properties caused by the floods. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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