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Cargo ship MV Ever Transport III runs aground in Dumaguete: 23 passengers safe--- 440 now dead as Sendong batters Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, heads for Palawan

Cargo ship runs aground in Dumaguete
abs-cbnNEWS.com Posted at 12/17/2011 2:13 PM | Updated as of 12/17/2011 2:14 PM
http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/12/17/11/cargo-ship-runs-agrou...
Rescuers hold on to a rope as they form a human chain to rescue 32 passengers and crew of the ill-fated M/V Ever Transport III, which sank after running aground off Sitio (sub-village) Canday-ong, Barangay (village) Calindagan, Dumaguete City at 4 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011. Big waves spawned by Tropical Storm Sendong battered the ship. Melissa Alexandra B. Pal/INQUIRER
MANILA, Philippines – A cargo vessel ran aground in the vicinity of Dumaguete City in the onslaught of tropical storm "Sendong."

Philippine Coast Guard Spokesperson Lt. Commander Algier Ricafrente said the MV Ever Transport III, owned by the company Carry Lines, was trying to look for a safe place to dock when it was battered by strong waves and winds early morning Saturday.

Radio dzMM reported that all 23 passengers were safe and were brought to Barangay Calindagan after undergoing a medical check-up.

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that 5,040 passengers were stranded as of 8 a.m. Saturday. Likewise, 82 trucks, 6 cars, 143 buses, 6 motorized boats and 87 vessels have been stranded in regions VI, VII, VIII, IX, X and CARAGA.

As of the 11 a.m. weather update of PAGASA, Sendong was spotted 180 kilometers west of Dumaguete City, packing winds of 75 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of 90 kph.

The weather bureau hoisted storm signal number 2 over Palawan, Southern Negros, and Zamboanga del Norte.

Signal number 1 was raised in Cuyo Island, Southern Cebu, Siquijor, Northern Negros, Zamboanga del Sur and Misamis Occidental.

PAGASA said Sendong is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Sunday afternoon. -- With reports from Johnson Manabat, dzMM

'Sendong' death toll in Mindanao soars to 440 — Philippine Red Cross
December 17, 2011 10:31pm
http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/242002/news/regions/sendong-death-t...

(Updated 11:30 p.m.) The death toll in the worst flooding to hit Mindanao in recent memory soared to 440, according to the Philippine Red Cross on Saturday.

About 20,000 soldiers had been mobiliZed in a huge rescue and relief operation across the stricken north coast of the island of Mindanao, where the major ports of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan were worst hit.

Nearly 200 are missing and Cagayan de Oro city reported 215 dead, and nearby Iligan city lost 144 residents, Pang told the Agence France Presse (AFP).

Iligan mayor Lawrence Cruz described rampaging floodwaters from swollen rivers that swamped up to a quarter of the land area of the city of 100,000.

"It's the worst flood in the history of our city," Cruz told GMA News.

"Most of them were asleep as floodwaters rushed down at 2:30am (1830 GMT Friday)," Benito Ramos, head of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council told reporters in Manila, referring to the victims.

"They were warned (about the approaching storm), but they did not go into preemptive evacuation."

He said Mindanao was rarely visited by storms, although about 20 major storms strike the Philippines annually, with most hitting Luzon, the largest and most populous island in the Southeast Asian archipelago.

"We expect huge damage, especially on agriculture," Ramos said.

Survivors on rooftops

Marlyn Manos, an Iligan resident, recounted how she and her children watched in terror from their rooftop as the floodwaters swallowed up the neighbourhood.

"All the small houses behind ours were destroyed, and many of my neighbours are missing," she said.

Iligan tourism officer Pat Noel told AFP waters began rising shortly before midnight (1600 GMT Friday) as people slept, sweeping houses made of light materials and their inhabitants along the riverbanks.

"Many of them told me they sought refuge on their rooftops," he said after joining the first wave of rescuers at daybreak.

Two of the three rivers that flow into the port of Iligan had overflowed, he added, and a popular radio commentator was among those killed.

Other affected areas on Mindanao included Bukidnon province, where 47 people died, while nine others people were killed elsewhere on the island, Pang of the Red Cross said.

Twenty-five people meanwhile drowned on the island of Negros, the provincial civil defence office told AFP.

Pang said 162 people were still missing in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, while a Negros official said 19 people were missing there.

The PRC said it is keeping "strict 24-hour monitoring of all situations in Mindanao, while conducting detailed assessments in close coordination with the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council. "

"Search and rescue teams have been mobilized. Hot meals have been prepared and distributed in evacuation centers," PRC also said on its website.
President Benigno Aquino has ordered 10 evacuation centres to be put up in the affected areas of Mindanao, his spokeswoman Abigail Valte said on government radio.

The western island of Palawan is expected to be hit on Saturday night with slightly weakened peak winds of 65 miles (46.4 miles) after Sendong (international codename Washi) crosses the Sulu Sea, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Administration (PAGASA) said.

The dead pile up

The Mindanao News and Information Cooperative Center (MNICC) through their website, MindaNews. reported that local journalists who checked on local funeral parlors listed at least 200 bodies in the Bollozos Funeral Parlor, 60 more in Somo Funeral Homes and another 17 in the Cosmopolitan Funeral Parlor.

MindaNews said the Bollozos staff tasked to count the number of flood victims’ bodies brought in stopped counting after the list of the dead hit 200.

The disaster risk reduction and management council of Cagayan de oro City was quoted as saying that there were 71 reported dead and 137 missing.

MindaNews editor Bobby Timonera likened the devastation he witness to the death and destruction wrought upon Hiroshima when a nuclear bomb was dropped on it near the end of World War II.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said in its 6 p.m. report Saturday that the dead are at 131 while the missing are at 269. — with Agence France Presse/ELR, GMA News

180 dead, nearly 400 missing in storm
Agence France-Presse, Philippine Daily Inquirer
2:04 pm | Saturday, December 17th, 2011
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/112849/180-dead-nearly-400-missing-in-storm

ILIGAN CITY, Philippines—Tropical storm Sendong (international codename: Washi) raked across Mindanao, unleashing mammoth floods across vast areas that left 180 people dead and nearly 400 others missing, officials said Saturday.

They said 20,000 soldiers had been mobilized in a huge rescue and relief operation across the stricken north coast of the island of Mindanao, where the major ports of Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City were worst hit.

Iligan mayor Lawrence Cruz described rampaging floodwaters from swollen rivers that swamped up to a quarter of the land area of the city of 100,000.

“It’s the worst flood in the history of our city,” Cruz told GMA television. “It happened so fast, at a time when people were fast asleep.”

The station showed dramatic pictures of a family escaping out of the window of their home in the town as the floods rose, and rescue workers in orange vests shepherding survivors to safety above chest-deep waters.

Marlyn Manos, an Iligan resident, recounted how she and her children watched in terror from their rooftop as flash floods demolished neighbors’ homes.

“All the small houses behind ours were destroyed, and many of my neighbors are missing,” she said.

The region’s military spokesmen said 97 bodies were recovered in Cagayan de Oro, with another 75 bodies found in Iligan.

In Iligan another 250 people remained unaccounted for, they said, with 125 people missing in Cagayan de Oro, a city of half a million people.

Three people also drowned in the town of Polanco and five were killed in a landslide in mountains near the town of Monkayo, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said in Manila.

Benito Ramos, the council’s executive director, suggested some residents had underestimated the threat posed by the approaching storm, in a region which is outside the country’s typhoon belt.

“Storms rarely hit this area and people probably became complacent even though they knew it was heading their way,” Ramos said.

In Cagayan de Oro City, where the floodwaters rose to more than one meter deep in the wee hours of Saturday, 95 people were confirmed dead, according to Colonel Leopoldo Galon, spokesperson of the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command based in Davao City. Cagayan de Oro was in the center of the storm’s path.

Twenty of the victims, many of them children, were recovered in Barangay Tambo alone, one of the villages dotting the banks of the swollen Cagayan de Oro River.

The Inquirer was there when some of the bodies were being retrieved Saturday.

Emil Raña, Cagayan de Oro government operations officer, said 22 villages were flooded by the heavy volume of rainwater dumped by Sendong. The flooding was worsened by the high tide, he said.

Armin Cuenca, head of the Oro Alert, said people were warned about the risk of flashfloods especially near rivers but many refused to leave their homes.

Bryan Cabillo of Tambo said his wife and three children were carried by the rushing waters that swept their home late Friday. He said he tried to save them but all was in vain as he too had to struggle with the strong currents.

Galon said the military was helping in the search-and-rescue efforts and had flown choppers to locate missing or trapped victims.

By noon Saturday the rains had stopped in many places in Mindanao although drizzles were still being reported in the northern and eastern parts of the island.

As of 8 a.m. Saturday, the NDRRMC said a total of 5,040 passengers, 82 trucks, six cars, 143 buses, six motorized bancas, and 87 vessels were stranded in eastern, western and central Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao, Western Mindanao and Caraga.

The Claveria-Calanasan road in Misamis Oriental was closed to traffic due to landslides, the NDRRMC reported.

The NDRRMC said the places hardest hit by the floods in Cagayan de Oro were the barangays of Consolacion, Macasandig, Tablon, Lapasan, Agusan, Cugman, Ipunan, Pagatpat, Kauswagan, Macanhan, Carmen, and Balulang.

Floods also submerged a village in nearby El Salvador City in Misamis Oriental, Clarin in Misamis Occidental, the Ozamis City barangays of Catadman, Bacolod, Maningcol, Aguada Annex, Gango, and Lam-an; Barangay Lapasan, Clarin, Misamis Occidental and Valencia City in Bukidnon but no casualties were immediately reported.

In nearby Iligan City, 15 people, including broadcaster Enie Alzonado of Radyo Mo Nationwide, died in the floods.

Mayor Lawrence Cruz said the bodies of the victims had been recovered.

Chief Superintendent Celso Regencia, Iligan City police chief, said they got reports that 40 people were killed in the floods but the reports were still being verified. Tens of others remained missing, he said.

Cruz said that he based his data on an actual body count and feared that the death toll would increase as more than 200 others were reported missing as of noon Saturday.

The floods were unprecedented, Cruz said, noting that places that had never been flooded before went under water as Sendong passed. He said in many areas, the water was more than one meter deep.

“In the flood-prone districts, houses were either underwater or washed away. Many families had to be rescued from the roofs of their houses,” Cruz said.

The floodwaters have since subsided and this could speed up the search-and-rescue efforts, he said.

At least 24 villages in Iligan were flooded, according to an NDRRMC report.

Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command based in Zamboanga City, said soldiers were deployed to help in the search-and-rescue operations in various places in Mindanao.

Cabangbang said early Saturday that in Iligan City alone, many residents were still on the roofs of their houses.

He said the residents, many of them children, were chilling from fear and wetness when rescued.

The total number of people displaced by the floods was still being ascertained.

But in Cagayan de Oro, which still had no electricity as of Saturday morning, some 20,000 people were being assisted in at least 10 evacuation centers, according to Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman.

In Iligan City, Cruz said “thousands had been displaced” but the actual number was still being determined.

The Iligan Bloggers Society has started a fund drive for the flood victims. It said they preferred canned goods and packed foods and clothing but donors could also send cash.

Details of the fund drive may be found on the group’s blog page http://t.co/9JEEYwGT.

In Zamboanga del Norte, Governor Rolando Yebes said three persons died in the flooding in a number of villages in Dapitan and Polanco.

“Iyong tubig umabot lampas tao,” he said by phone.

Yebes said the floods were also worsened by the high tide.

“Disaster personnel continue to monitor and assess the situation to determine the actual number of families affected,” he said.

The NDRRMC said the total number of affected persons in Zamboanga del Norte was 1,307.

In Dipolog City in Zamboanga del Norte, the NDRRMC said, floods also occurred in barangays Turno and Dicayas on Thursday morning, displacing about 300 persons.

In Monkayo, Compostela Valley, one person was reported missing while 134 families fled their homes when flashfloods and landslides hit six villages as Sendong lashed Mindanao, the military said,

Major Rosa Manuel, civil military affairs officer of the Eastern Mindanao command based in Davao City, said the extent of damage from the floods and landslides was not immediately known.

The NDRRMC said one person was killed in landslides on Mt. Diwata in Monkayo.

Flashfloods were also reported in Compostela and Nabunturan towns.

In the Caraga region, 1,560 persons were affected by floods that swept through villages in Lingig, Surigao del Sur and Bislig City.

Ships servicing the region were also advised against sailing.

The NDRRMC said floods also occurred in Sigma, Capiz, affecting the barangays of Agbo, Amaga, Cogon, Dayhagon, Poblacion Norte, Poblacion Sur, Guintas, Pagbunitan, Bangon-bangon, Mangoso, Capuyhan, Tawog, and Matangcong.

Floods also swept through the villages of Cabanghan and Cabugao in Panitan town, also in Capiz.

Eric Carillo, an Iligan resident, said the rains started pouring heavily late Friday but his family, who emerged alive from the floods, were not unduly alarmed and did not seek higher ground.

“I’ve been around for 47 years and this was the worst flooding I have ever experienced,” he added.

Iligan tourism officer Pat Noel told Agence France-Presse waters began rising shortly before midnight (1600 GMT Friday) as people slept, sweeping houses made of light materials and their inhabitants along the riverbanks.

“Many of them told me they sought refuge on their rooftops,” he said after joining the first wave of rescuers at daybreak.

Two of the three rivers that flow into the port of Iligan had overflowed, he added.

Weather forecasters said the eye of the storm passed close to the southern tip of the central island of Negros on Saturday morning.

It was expected to hit the western island of Palawan on Saturday night after crossing the Sulu Sea, with peak winds of 75 miles (46.6 miles) an hour, the state weather service said.

The Philippines is struck by about 20 major storms annually, with most hitting Luzon, the largest and most populous island in the Southeast Asian archipelago.

Two typhoons, Pedring (Nesat) and Quiel (Nalgae), hit the country within days of each other from late September, leaving more than 100 people dead, while tropical storm Ramon (Banyan) killed another eight people in October.

Reports from JB Deveza, Bobby Lagsa, Richel Umel, Ryan Rosauro, Julie Alipala, Allan Nawal and Dennis Jay Santos, Inquirer Mindanao

Originally posted: 11:24 am | Saturday, December 17th, 2011

Sendong heads for Palawan after pounding Visayas, Mindanao
By TJ Burgonio Philippine Daily Inquirer
1:39 pm | Saturday, December 17th, 2011
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/112873/sendong-heads-for-palawan-after-poun...

MANILA, Philippines — After leaving a trail of destruction in Mindanao and the Visayas, Tropical Storm Sendong (international codename: Washi) on Saturday swirled toward Palawan, threatening to pummel it with heavy rains and even stronger winds.

Sendong was forecast to make another landfall in Palawan around 8 p.m. Saturday before exiting the Philippine area of responsibility on Sunday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said.

“They should expect stormy weather there,’’ forecaster Jori Lois said in an interview.

At 10 a.m. Saturday, Signal No. 2 was hoisted over Palawan, southern Negros island and Zamboanga del Norte; while Signal No. 1 was up over Cuyo Island, Southern Cebu, Siquijor and Northern Negros, Zamboanga del Sur and Misamis Occidental.

By Sunday morning, Palawan would experience light to moderate rain while provinces earlier hit by the storm would have “improved weather,’’ Lois said.

Sendong intensified slightly over the Sulu Sea on Saturday, packing maximum winds of 75 kilometers per hour that were gusting up to 90 kph, as it approached Palawan.

Moving west northwest at 30 kph, the storm was forecast to cross Palawan Saturday night and to be out of the Philippine area of responsibility by Sunday afternoon.

According to forecasters, a cyclone crosses Mindanao only once every 12 years.

While the storm was too far to affect the rest of the country, the convergence of the northeast monsoon and the easterlies, or winds from the east, was expected to bring rain over Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon Sunday.