By Ben Cal
Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City bore the brunt of Tropical Storm ‘Sendong’ (international codename: Washi), sustaining 410 deaths out of the 497 fatalities as of Sunday, according to the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC).
‘Sendong’ dumped more rains that triggered flashfloods never seen in almost five decades that a wide swath of destruction in Mindanao with 215 deaths in Cagayan de Oro and 195 in Iligan.
The storm also battered the Visayas region, particularly Negros Oriental.
It was a horrifying trail of destruction that also killed 47 in Bukidnon, 22 in Negros Oriental, 9 in Lanao del Norte, 5 in Compostela Valley, 3 in Zamboanga del Norte and 1 in Surigao del Sur, the PNRC said.
“Most of the dead were asleep Friday night when raging floodwaters pounded their homes from rivers and cascaded from mountain slopes following 12 straight hours of heavy rains in Mindanao,” the PNRC said.
The storm has affected a total of 5,884 families, with 202 injured and 162 still missing. A total of 2,252 are still sheltered at 23 evacuation centers.
But the City Disaster Reduction Management Center (CDRMC) in Cagayan de Oro said more than 400 remained missing.
The Red Cross also said there were currently 7,431 persons in four evacuation centers in Iligan City, which was destroyed by flash floods Friday. The city has been placed under a state of calamity.
The downpour was so heavy that it dumped 180 millimeters (mm) of water in less than 24 hours, which led to massive floods in 23 of its 80 barangays, leaving about 20,000 residents in evacuation centers, it said.
Prior to the onslaught of ‘Sendong’ in Zamboanga del Norte, about 143 persons had already evacuated their houses which were destroyed by flash floods that swept the municipality of Polanco as well as Dipolog and Dapitan cities. Dapitan River had overflown that flooded several barangays in Dapitan.