Posted by: rotaryds | 2012/02/12

Two Natural Disasters Strike Negros Oriental in Succesion

Strike One:  Typhoon brings floods, Destroys communities along River

Typhoon Sendong  hit southern Negros Island as it cruised through northern Mindanao cities of Cagayan de Oro and Illigan bring its swathe of rain and wind across the sea last Saturday, Dec 17, 2011.  In Negros Oriental province it affected the lives of 11,012 families in ten towns of Negros Oriental province as the torrential rains caused floods and torrents that bulldozed their homes.  All in all about 37 deaths were reported estimated to reach P730M (P43=US$1) in damages, including P31.5 M in destruction to irrigation canals in this agricultural province.  Another P40M was lost in agricultural farms and crops.

According to data gathered from the meteorological station a high rainfall intensity of 120mm was poured by the atmosphere at the height of the storm from 600 6AM to 10AM that swelled the Banica river in downtown Dumaguete city that weekend morning.  According to the weather station a 50mm of rainfall would make the floodwaters reach the floodline,  meaning that the volume that fell was more than double the floodline level.  Luckily,  the periphery of the storm struck at low tide, the rainfall level the next day  eased to 19mm-25mm of the flood line.

Biggest casualties came from the municipalities of Sibulan, Valencia and Dumaguete City itself.  Of the ten towns that got affected the geothermal town of Valencia appeared to have bore the brunt of Typhoon Sendong’s fury.    Okoy River, south of Dumaguete also  breached its banks in a level never seen before inundating communities that were previously spared from flood.

Of the estimated damage, P300M was attributed to infrastructure damage, which included the Valencia Industrial plant and seven major waterworks  system that provides drinking water to towns and municipalities.  The base of the northern approach to Tanjay bridge was washed away affecting transportation and cane delivery to the two  sugar mills of Bais City.

Government agencies and the Red Cross tried to cope with the victims needs of food and water as they were scattered in evacuation centers, most public school building in the various communities affected.

In a related story, the Rotary Club of Dumaguete South distributed P200k worth of home building materials in Scandinavian village, in Brgy, Candau-ay, this city last Saturday. January 29.  Club officials chose this community as the recipient of the aid.  Led by Disaster relief  club chairman, PP Gregorio Uymatiao Jr and club president Edmund Gonzales, several members including PP Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria attended the delivery of aid to the residents.  The donations came from other district 3850 clubs that responded to the call for help and local business contributions from the Negros Oriental community.

Strike Two:  Intensity 7 Earthquake collapses Bridges and Opens cracks on Main Highway, Brings down a Mountain Side (see graphics following)

Even simple dwellings of farmers were not spared as the first earthquake experienced by farmers reduced their homes to rubble. 

Curious children examine a deep crack on the national highway in Jimalalud town, 96 km north of Dumaguete City where the epicenter was located.

Hardly has the Negros Oriental province recovered from a typhoon’s wrath when an intensity  7 on the Richter scale earthquake struck last Monday, February 6 at 1030 AM,  sending shock waves from its epicenter located 70 thru 90km north of Dumaguete City.   Suffering the most were the towns of Tayasan, La Libertad and Guihulngan City as the highway was ripped apart bringing  down thirteen  major bridges that connect the Negros Oriental transport artery.

According the the Department of Public Works, damage to road and bridge infrastructure alone could run up to P750B.

As of presstime, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management council pegged the death toll at 39 including 66 unaccounted for due to a landslide that buried farming communities.

Pangaloan Bridge in Jimalalud town, 96 kms from Dumaguete, was rendered impassable after a section fell into the river during the earthquake.

Elements of the Philippine Army stationed in Negros Oriental rush to dig out victims of a landslide that was caused by the earthquake in Brgy. Solongon, Jimmalalud.. The lack of heavy equipment and inaccessibility of the stricken area agravated the difficulty of rescuing victims.

The collapse of the Tinayuhan bridge in Guihulngan City, Pangaluan bridge in Jimmalalud and the Martilo bridge in La Libertad municipality rendered aid delivery from Dumaguete City difficult as transport vehicles could not bring the much needed relief assistance to the disaster stricken epicenter towns.

Two big landslides two kilometers in length brought down a 600 ft hillside in the baranggays of Planas and in Solongon in La Libertad municipality. A baranggay is a the smallest community in the Philippine constitutional political grouping. A level 2 tsunami alert was issued that further frightened the residents, as they scampered for higher ground, luckily no tsunami was generated and the alert was lowered after an hour of the initial tremor.

Rescue workers from the military and private groups struggle with meager equipment to save the 24 residents said to have been buried in the area hampered by inaccessability to bring heavy equipment to the stricken area.

Among those that responded immediately to the disaster were the Amity FireBrigade from Bacolod City, equipment from Philex Mining Corporation, Phil Apex Saga and elements of the Philippine army units stationed in Negros Oriental.  An unidentified group from Bicol province was reported to have aided in the rescue.

In a report from Negros Oriental 1st District Representative Josie Limkaichong, priority was drinking water as the areas water supply system was also crippled. She also appealed for food, medicines and temporary shelter as residents experiencing a first major earthquake in the region were fearful of returning to their fhomes fearful they would get trapped in another tremor.

From the Cebu City Rotary Clubs of District 3860, a group of Cebu doctors from the Cebu Medical Society and the Cebu chapter of Philippine College of Surgeons  and a complements of the eastern visayas GMA broadcast network,came by sea to Guihulngan town from across the Tanon Strait.  Among them were Group Leader Rtn. Dr. Wyben Briones, District  Internet Communication Officer  Rtn. Bernie Lumapas of RC Gloria Maris, Past Assistant Governor Chicchic Palacios.  Also with the group was GMA network General Manager,  Ann Marie Tan.

Dr.  Wyben Briones is chairman of the D3860 Health Concern Committee for the Visayas. RC Cebu West manpower came from Rtn. Wilton Uykingtian, Senior Assistant Governor for Operations and District RF chair Jose Maria “Toto” Cupin.

As the last aid group from Cebu who came for Typhoon Sendong, they were hosted by RC Dumaguete South’s  PP  Rafael Besases residence before they proceeded home after their weekend mission.

The Rotary Club of Davao through PDG Salvador “Bading” Angala sent a P30k check to the Ting Matiao Foundation of the Rotary Club of Dumaguete South to kick-off a donation drive for relief operations in the quake stricken towns.

Anybody wishing to send aid may try to contact Club Secretary PP Eutropio “Troops” Ochavillo (6335) 224 4718 or email bank account with MetroBank and Trust Company Account name: Rotary Martin “Ting” Matiao Foundation Inc. Account number 110-3029316767 SWIFTCODE MBTCPHMM, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental 6200

Meanwhile, on February 19, the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Team and their heavy equipment group ended their retrieval of 66 missing persons in Brgy. Solongon , La Libertad and Guihulngan City with the sad note that all missing are presumed dead and were added to the original fatalities of last Feb. 6 earthquake bringing a total of 105 dead in the disaster.

After 16 days, fears by people who experienced their first earthquake in the area, prevented them from returning to their homes preferring instead to remain outdoors. Local officials issued an appeal for tarpaulins to protect these victims from the elements as rains followed the wake of the tremor. Shelterbox reports sending 169 tents from their Mindanao flood assistance to augment temporary shelters in demand.


  1. Thank you very much for this great information. Let’s pray for the people who were struck by this massive quake. God be with us all.

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