Search and rescue operations in Iligan City, Philippines

By Teofilo P. Garcia

The military’s Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) is conducting search and rescue operations as more than 200 people remain missing while 79 were reported dead in a flashflood spawned by tropical storm ‘Sendong’ in Iligan City.

This, as the water suddenly rose around 1 a.m. and submerged at least 11 barangays of Iligan City’s 44 barangays while the residents were in deep slumber.

Wesmincom spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang said Saturday the search and rescue operations were being led by Brig. Gen. Roland Amarille, the deputy commander of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division.

Cabangbang said troops and equipment were sent to Iligan City to search for the 260 people who were reported missing.

Cabangbang said that as of 4:30 p.m. Saturday the death toll was placed at 79 people dead.

Elements of Philippine Navy (PN), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) as well as from the other sectors of the society have joined the Army’s search and rescue operations.

He said the Philippine Air Force (PAF) has also deployed two UH-1H helicopters from the Edwin Andrews Air Base to assist the ground troops in the search and rescue operations.

He said that the PN troops have rescued at sea 15 survivors shortly after noon Saturday.

Around 1:30 p.m. navy troops backed by a civilian vessel, M/V Young-A have also rescued eight survivors at seven nautical miles of Lugait Point, Iligan City, he said.

Thirty minutes later, PN troops have recovered two survivors “at the opening” of Bayog River, also in Iligan City, he said.

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