Archive for the ‘disaster’ Category

Wicked Weather Count: 2,500 stranded in Bicol, 50 homes destroyed in Cebu, 16,000+ flood evacuees in Agusan del Sur

January 15, 2009

Barely 3 days after reports of floods in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental, and Northern Samar left a trail of death and inundation, about 2,500 passengers were reported stranded in Bicol, mostly in Matnog, Sorsogon. The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) temporarily interrupted the people’s sea travel due to dangerous weather conditions sweeping the country.

In Cebu, huge waves and ensuing floods destroyed at least 50 homes in coastal villages. Mayor of Ginatilan town Dean Michael Singco said people in these places were forced to move to safer grounds. They were transiently housed in schools and public buildings, before dawn on Wednesday, January 14, 2009 to avoid injuries and loss of life.

In Davao de Norte, 9 fishermen were rescued in rough seas after their nine unregistered boats ventured to open waters. Similar wicked weather caused flooding in Agusan del Sur when Agusan river rose, forcing about 16,267 people from 2,546 families to evacuate in temporary shelters. The towns of San Francisco, Prosperidad, La Paz, Veruela, Bunawan and Esperanza.—GMATvNews (01/15/09, Pantaleon, A)

A motorboat bringing passengers close to Bantique, Panay in the Visayas Islands sank killing Sylvia Cerezo, 63. Five other passengers namely, Godofredo Roxas, Rowell Baaquilar, Nida Baquilar, Jocelyn Baquilar and Margarita Dizon were plucked out from sea and led to safety. The small boat had Butacal and Pontevedra, Capiz as its usual passenger route.

The spate of wicked weather and calamities remind us of the importance of disaster preparedness in the community. People need to be pro-active in helping themselves for the government assistance is too limited. Needing our commonsense decision, we can’t completely rely on others concerning safety during travel particularly when the weather isn’t good. (Photo Credits Gahenty; Lino Almueda) =0=

RELATED BLOGS: “Floods in Gingoog City, Northern Samar, and Misamis Oriental drive thousands to evacuate” Posted by mesiamd at 1/12/2009; “With 17, 000 islands, Indonesia shares maritime woes with the Philippines” Posted by mesiamd at 1/13/2009

Floods in Gingoog City, Northern Samar, and Misamis Oriental drive thousands to evacuate

January 12, 2009

The rain on Sunday, January 11, 2009 brought flash floods that forced 651 families (3,289 people) in Gingoog City scampering for higher ground. About 9 people were reported missing. The same heavy downpour caused waters to rise in Cagayan de Oro City in 23 barangays The same rain caused electrical power interruptions in these areas. Source: GMATV.News (01/11/09)

While Bicol Region is on a flood watch, rising waters washed away at least 20 homes and made a major bridge in Opol town in Misamis Oriental province closed to vehicular traffic.

In Northern Samar, thousands of people were driven out of their homes as rain water rose and landslides swept the area over the weekend. Many people living in low-lying places had to stay in evacuation centers as they waited for the flood to recede. Six people were reportedly killed when they were buried by landslide in a place called Ocad, Lavezares.

Such damages and human suffering brought by the wicked weather have become more common. Weather watcher Pagasa reports an unusual surge in rainful volume in the last few days which authorities believe may extend till February.

Factors like deforestation and increased population in flood- prone areas are also to blame in the spate of flood-related emergencies. Flood prevention programs like tree planting, dredging of rivers, and relocation of people must be a collective community effort. =0=

RELATED BLOG: “Bicol reforestation “ Posted by mesiamd at 12/16/2008

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Sorsogon Floods

December 29, 2008

At the year end, Bombo Radyo reported that about 95 families had been evacuated in Bulan South Central High School, Bulan Sorsogon, on Monday, December 29, 2008 because of rising waters in the area. The Philippine National Police and the Municipal Disaster Coordinating Council (MDCC) said that because of the floods, the highway in the place didn’t allow vehicular traffic to pass. (Photo Credit: Sir Mervs) =0=

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May barko na naman na lumubog!

November 26, 2008

Paano naman di mawawalan ng tiwala tayo sa ating sarili kung panay na lang masamang balita ang nasa diaryo. Kung minsan ang ibang mga manunulat ay gusto ng maka-iwas sa mga negatibong mga balita. Nguni’t kadalasan, di pe-pwede, gaya ng malimit na pagkalubog ng ating mga barko sa Pilipinas.

Me nagsasabi na ang mga usaping nakaka-rinde gaya ng barkong lumubog ay hindi makakabuti sa lipunan. Tama, kung meron tayong ginagawa sa problema. Pero kung wala, ang pag-kukunwari na OK lang (walang masamang nangyayari) ay di mabuti! Lalo na kung tayo ay nag-aasa na ang problema ay papawi na di tayo kumikilos para magkaroon ng solusyon.

Ang pagiging positibo ay mabuti, kung may batayan. Pag wala, nakakabigay lang ito ng sandaliang pag-asa. Ang ligaya sa di pagharap sa katotohanan ay dumadaan lamang. Nandiyan pa rin ang suliranin kung ang problema ay di matugunan.

Ang mga reaksiyon na ito ay matagal ng problema natin. Halos wala na ngang gustong kumibo. Abala na lang tayo sa buhay pang-pamilya hanggang dumating ang araw na tayo na rin ang nagiging mga biktima ng problema sa kalsada. Halatang walang mai-tulong sa atin ang mga nasa pamahalaan.

Ang “denial” ay paborito nating depensa sa problema. Kadalasan ito’y umu-obra, kahit na wala tayong pag-kilos. Nguni’t ang “denial” sa tagal ay lalong nakakapalala ng ating mga suliranan. Ang di pag-harap ng katotohanan ay sa banding huli, nakakasira sa ating pamumuhay sa lipunan. Heto ang isang halimbawa:

Di pa nga tapos ang pagluksa ng mga namatay sa pamapasaherong lantsa sa Masbate na lampas 40 tao ang namatay ngayong buwan, (800+ ang namatay sa Princess of the Stars ng ito’y lumubog sa Romblon limang buwan ang nakaraan, ) heto na naman ang masamang balita ni Lt. Gary Dale Limotea ng Coast Guard. Ang cargo ship na Mark Jason na papunta sa Batanes galing Maynila ng Noviembre 17 ay lumubog. Katorseng (14) tauhan at 6 pang iba ang sakay. Buti na lang 16 ang nasalba sa incidente, nguni’t 4 na tao ay nawawala.—Philstar/AP (11/26/08)

Bakit pawang ganire na lamang ang trahedya ng ating lipunan? Wala na ba talagang pwedeng gawin ang govierno, Coast Guard, at MARINA para maiwasan ang ganitong mga sakuna? Hindi na ba natin pwedeng ma-ipatupad ang mga regulasyon ng paglakbay sa dagat? Di na ba natin maiwasan na hintuin ang pag-viaje kung meron bagyo. Hanggang “denial” na lang ba tayo na marami sa ating inocenteng mamamayan ang namamatay na di nabibigyan ng hustiya? Saan ba gagaling ang pag-unlad ng ating buhay?(Photo Credits: Mauritius100’s; Lorca56) =0=

RELATED BLOGS: “RP’s maritime disaster Ferry boat sinks in Masbate killing 40” Posted by mesiamd at 11/04/2008; Princess of the stars: a harvest of blame and shame” Posted by mesiamd at 11/08/2008; “A Sorry Maritime Safety Record Indeed In The Philippines” Posted by myty555 at 11/09/2008
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Huge Loss in Naga Supermarket Fire

November 9, 2008

by Fatima Edna Balaquiao

Last Friday evening, the Naga City supermarket was razed by fire particularly the 2nd and 3rd floors. Ninety-nine (99%) of the stores on the upper 2 floors were devastated. Rows of ukay-ukay stores (second-hand clothes sellers,) vegetables stalls, chicheria wholesalers, dried fish stalls, meat stalls were gobbled up by flames.

It’s almost December and market sellers are already on their way to stock-up for the Christmas holiday. It’s really sad seeing them now. They ply their trade on the side streets – sa gilid kan tinampo – specially the small-time vendors.

The local government has declared a state of calamity in Naga city. I don’t know when things will get back to normal, but probably it will take time. Haloy pa ini!. (Photo Credits: by kaveh; ToNo’World’s) =0=

RELATED BLOGS: “Fire brings woes to Naga City market vendors
Posted by mesiamd at 11/07/2008; “Naga Public Market (Supermarket) Burns Down” Posted by myty555 at 11/07/2008

RP’s maritime disasters: a harvest of blame and shame

November 7, 2008

The frequent maritime disasters in the Philippines make us look back and ponder what the country can do to prepare itself for the next sea tragedy. In Umalohokan (06/22/08, Fabonan, E) a Philippine Normal University blogsite, a review of the horrible sea disasters has been written, some of them incredibly disgusting. (see below.)

It’s amazing how the Philippine government, the coast guard, and maritime authorities don’t do enough to answer the demand of the public for a safer sea travel. This month, the latest sinking involves passenger boat Rolly IV on its way to the island of Mailoglog in Iloilo on November 6, 2008. Nine (9) passengers perished.

Two days before on November 4, 2008, ML Don Dexter Cathlyn sank in Masbate with more than 40 poor passengers dead. Recalling those who perished in the shipwrecks, here is the harvest of blame and shame which must rattle the conscience of those responsible. People who died and were lost at sea cry, ever strong than the waves, asking for justice and accountability.

1. December 20, 1987 – MV Dona Paz: Colliding with tanker Vector in Tablas Strait, the ship’s sinking in the Philippines is believed to be the world’s worst maritime disaster in modern history. Although the ships report a lower death toll at 4,375, the official number of those who died is 1,565. The 1,568 listed on the manifest is more than the licensed maximum of 1,518—suggeting overcrowding.

2. October 24, 1988 – MV Dona Marilyn: A sister ship of MV Dona Paz, this ship is owned by Sulpicio Lines. Bound for Cebu, the ship left Manila, later plunged down the seafloor and killed 254 people on October 24, 1988 during a typhoon.

3. December 2, 1994 – MV Cebu City: In December 2, 1994, the ferry sank in Manila Bay after a collision with Singaporean freighter Kota Suria claiming 140 lives. The Philippine Coast Guard ruled that the crew was accountable. The collision could have been averted if the Cebu City crew obeyed a call from Kota Suria to turn right. Instead, but the ship erroneously turned left and crossed Kota Suria’s path.

4. December 13, 1995 – MV Kimelody Cristy: A passenger ferry owned by Moreta Shipping Lines Inc. which was gutted by fire and went aground on its way to Mindoro. 17 people died and 16 were missing. Investigation disclosed the ship had only a provisional authority from MARINA officials to operate..

5. September 20, 1998 – MV Princess of the Orient: Another passenger ferry owned by Sulpicio Lines. On its way to Cebu City from Manila, it sank killing 150 people. The ship reportedly left the port of Manila even as a typhoon signal has been declared in the city.

6. December 23, 1999 – MV Asia South Korea: A passenger ferry owned by Trans-Asia Shipping Lines. On its way to Iloilo City from Cebu City during the Christmas holiday rush. It sank off Bantayan Island in Cebu province killing 44 people. The number of passengers exceeded the total capacity the ferry which left port even if authorities forbid the travel because of a storm.

7. February 25, 2000 – MV Our Lady of Mediatrix: This passenger ferry caught fire as it was about to dock. Two bombs rigged inside three buses on-board exploded killing 45 people. The government to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF.) for the incident.

8. April 12, 2000 – ML Annahada: A merchant launch sank off Sulu, Philippines on April 12, 2000; due to overloading; Of the 150 to 200 passengers onboard, 56 people were reportedly killed and over 100 missing. Most of the passengers were reportedly illegal migrants on their way to Tawi-Tawi which then serves as gateway to Malaysia and Indonesia.

9. April 11, 2002 – MV Maria Carmela: Owned by Montenegro Shipping Lines, the ship left Masbate port on April 10. 2002 but caught fire just an hour away from Lucena, Quezon, its destination. Of the 290 passengers and crew, 23 were killed and 27 reported missing.

10. May 26, 2003 – MV San Nicolas: The merchant vessel collided with WGA Superferry 12 off the coast of Corregidor Island on May 26, 2003 during an stormy weather. Of the 203 passengers, 39 people were killed; serious errors and negligence were blamed as the cause of the collision.

11. February 27, 2004 – WGA Superferry 14: Ferry operated by the WG&A Consortium which sank of the coast of Corregidor Island on February 27, 2004 after an explosion, killing at least 100 of the 899 passengers and crew. Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf was reported responsible for the incident.

12. June 10, 2007 – MV Cathlyn-D: Ship operated by San Nicolas Shipping which went under off Paluan Bay in Mindoro Occidental province after catching fire; out of 260 passengers, 5 people were killed; negligence was to blame. The ships in the company’s fleet were temporarily grounded.

13. June 22, 2008 – MV Princess of the Stars: The passenger ferry owned by Sulpicio Linest sank off San Fernando town in Sibuyan Island, Romblon Province. The ferry was bound for Cebu City from Manila during Typhoon Frank. It ran aground killing 823 passengers. The illegal endosulfan toxic cargo has been recovered. Retrieval of bodies is still ongoing.

14. Novermber 4, 2008- ML Don Dexter Cathlyn: The inter-island ferry sank on its way from Masbate to Sorsogon in Bicol. Inconsistent to the official number of passengers in the manifest, at least forty-two persons (42) were reported to have died, seventy-six (76) had been rescued, and thirteen (13) were unaccounted for. The bodies included 25 women, 5 men, and 4 children between ages 1 to 4. They were displayed in the town plaza for grieving relatives to identify,

15. November 6, 2008—Motor Launch Rolly IV: The ferry sank killing 9 people as it cruised to Mailoglog, Iloilo during inclement weather. As of November 8, fatalities rose to 13 people. Photo Credits: Umalohokan.blogspot; Bullit Marquez/AP; AP)=0=


RELATED BLOGS:Ferry boat sinks in Masbate killing 40” Posted by mesiamd at 11/04/2008; “Boat mishap in Iloilo, 9 dead” Posted by mesiamd at 11/06/2008; “The need for witnesses in the Princess of the Stars toxic chemical recovery” Posted by mesiamd at 9/25/2008; “Endosulfan safely retrieved: where are the other toxic chemicals?” Posted by mesiamd at 10/07/2008 ;”Toxic Cargo” Posted by mesiamd at 6/28/2008.

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Boat mishap in Iloilo, 9 dead

November 6, 2008

In a string of tragic sea events, Inquirer (11/06/08, Burgos N. Jr.) reports another ferry boat sinking in Concepcion Iloilo on Thursday November 6, 2008. The passenger boat Rolly IV sank on its way to the neighboring island of Mailoglog.

Strong waves by a brewing tropical storm cause the boat to sink killing 9 people. The fatalities are identified as Gigi Villaran, Tonya de la Cruz, Juanito Musico, Sheila Olano, Miriam Salundagit, Carmen Padrillan, Aida Libre, Cana Caberoy, Jerson Caberoy. Search and rescue are hampered by inclement weather. Philippine authorities seem helpless in curbing the rash of maritime disasters in the island country. =0=

UPDATE: As of Novermber 8, 2008, the death toll in this sea mishap has risen to 13.

Ferry boat sinks in Masbate killing 40

November 4, 2008

Barely have we forgotten the horrors of the sinking of Sulpicio Lines’ Princess of the Stars on June 21, 2008, a passenger ferry capsized on Tuesday, November 4, 2008, in Masbate, an island southeast of Manila. With 119 listed passengers and 6 crew members, a possible strong gale or squall swept M/L Don Dexter Cathlyn on its way to Bulan, Sorsogon from Dimasalang, Masbate.

Inconsistent to the official number of passengers in the manifest, at least forty persons (40) were reported to have died, seventy-six (76) had been rescued, and thirteen (13) were unaccounted for. Displayed in the town plaza for grieving relatives to identify, the bodies included 25 women, 5 men, and 4 children between ages 1 to 4.

According to Masbate Provincial police chief Reuben Sindac, the sea was relatively calm and there was no rain or typhoon when the mishap happened. Ship overloading was suspected. GMA News/ AP (11/04/08, Balagtas-See, A)

The sinking of ferry boats and passenger deaths have been recurrent tragic problems in the Philippine maritime industry. Stricter government oversight, safety measures, and accountability have been demanded by the public, but no improvement so far is in sight. (Photo Credits:http://weather-forcast.com; http://philippine.bayaw.com) =0=

UPDATE: November 5, 2008, the death toll in the Masbate sea mishap rises to 42.
PO2 Bernardo Pajalla Jr. of Masbate police has identified the fatalities as of 10 p.m. Tuesday November 4, 2008 as:

1. Michelle Ramirez, 1
2. Ritchinel Andaya, 3
3. Nathaniel Andaya, 6
4. Maricel Ornopia, 30
5. Silvina Gabriel, 58
6. Auria Pasas, 66
7. Rosalie Atabay, 26
8. Rosalina Atabay, 50
9. Crisilda Atabay, 7
10. Cizzia Atabay, 6
11. Joy-joy Atabay,6
12. In-in Nueva, 16
13. Grace Capellan, 48
14. Larganie Capellan, 5
15. Lean Capellan, 2
16. Teresita Abejuela, 40
17. John Paul Abejuela, 6
18. Nenita Matos, 36
19. Charlene Leastardo, 19
20. Jimmy Banaag, 22
21. Filipina Anman, 66
22. Ana Nerbis, 59
23. Consolacion Baybayon, 78
24. Lanie Mahinay, 18
25. Sonia Cordera, 40
26. Adelina Adobas, 74
27. Reynaldo Arcueno, 42
28. Jennifer Mantal, 34
29. Nerie Badillo, 44
30. Jessica Marsonia, 36
31. Benita Hermosa, 67
32. Olympio Blaso, 64
33. Rosalina Pilapil, 50
34. Marichu Apao, 5
35. Parcy Abenir, 6
36. Salud Abenir, 65
37. Rossie Belarmino, 57
38. Marilyn Lleness, 43
39. Christian Ramos, 4
40. Francisca Rondina, 50

The need for witnesses in the Princess of the Stars toxic chemical recovery

September 25, 2008

Divers from Titan Salvage and Harbor Star started their salvage work by taking a survey near around “ground zero,” but media were kept away from the operations center.” GMANewsTV (09/25/08, Dedace, S.)

Why will government officials disallow the media to observe the conduct of the endosulfan recovery operations in the sunken ship Princess of the Stars? With toxic chemicals on board, the ship owned by Sulpicio Lines sank at the height of Typhoon Frank on June 21, 2008, killing about 800 passengers.

For the sake of truth, it’s important that the salvage operation be witnessed. The relatives of those who perished need to know how the bodies trapped in the ship are being handled. Residents in the area close to the sunken ship are anxious to know where their safety stands as sluggish recovery goes on. There must be no secrecy in the recovery operation.

The longer it takes to recover the toxic chemicals, the higher the chance the containers will leak and cause contamination. With real fear of an environmental disaster, the public is left guessing for three months now what’s going on with the chemicals left out to leach in the salty sea.


A haphazard handling of endosulfan can contaminate the area. The hazardous chemical can be carried far by water current and is capable of sparking an environmental catastrophe which can cause havoc in humans and wildlife. If this happens, without the media watching, few people can be warned. And less people will know the truth.

The plan of the local government of Romblon to evacuate residents in case of a spill is laudable, but the people must be assured that the handling of hazardous material is done correctly. To allay public fear, the government needs periodic advisories on the progress of the salvage operation. But these aren’t done as expected.

Perhaps, to discourage the media from being in the site, the concern about being exposed to toxic chemicals isn’t justified. Reporters usually come to sites of danger as part of their jobs, just like those workers who signed up to work in the submerged ship. (Photo Credits: Somophils; Zinnie)=0=

Fish Dying on the Fence

September 16, 2008


As the flood waters recede after Hurricane Ike battered Orange, Texas, thousands of fish have been marooned on drying pools beside streets on September 15, 2008.

As if calling for help, some fish, in apocalyptic horror, were stuck on fences and died with their mouths and eyes open. This can be similar to the “cadaveric spasms” seen in humans prior to a stressful death.

Destruction in Texas is substantial. Help and rehabilitation are on-going for people who suffered the catastrophic effects of the wicked weather. As of this time, at least 20 are known to have died from the hurricane.(Photo Credits: AP/Eric Gay)