"Ompong" aftermath: 12 dead, 3 missing in baguio

BAGUIO CITY – At least 12 persons were confirmed dead while three remained missing in the City as of press time Friday after typhoon "Ompong" pummeled the Cordillera region with torrential rains and gusty winds last Sept. 15.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan who heads the City Disaster Risk Reduction Council identified the fatalities as Shaina Mae Pascua, 19; Meriam Behis, 58; Cristine Atuban, 39; Grace Ganapao, 40, all of Camp 7; Cynthia Balinggan, 17 of bakakeng Sur; Lovely Jane Bulakit, 11, of Bakakeng Central; Jessa Marie Clenuar, 18 and Julie Clenuar, 49 of Sto. Tomas Proper; Edwin Cabarlo, 59 of Kias; Ludivigo Ruben Viernes Sr., 65 of Lucnab; and Randy Domagos, 21 of San Vicente.

Still missing as of press time Friday were Celso Calzo and John Lee Viernes both of Lucnab and Clifford Cumiding of Kias.

City Police Director Ramil Saculles said all of the victims died in separate landslide incidents except for Domagos who drowned when swept away by strong currents.

A total of 23 persons sustained injuries while 540 families with 2,222 individuals were displaced most of whom preemptively evacuated and stayed in the City's 42 shelters and cared for by the City Social Welfare and Dev't Office under Officer Betty Fangasan.

The City Engineering Office under City Engr. Edgar Victorio Olpindo placed the initial cost of damages at P232,350,000 in public properties and P16,950,000 in private properties.

As per the CRRMO OpCen report submitted by Local DRRM Officer I Stephanie Trinidad, the howler triggered at least 57 landslides and 12 soil erosions and 25 flooding incidents and caused 58 fallen or leaning trees, 12 fallen or leaning posts, at least 12 damaged houses and 10 damaged infrastructures among other reported incidents.

The typhoon also caused massive power outage but by 7 p.m. of Sept. 15, 73 percent of power was restored by the Benguet Electric Cooperative Inc.

Landslides prompted the closure of Naguilian Road and Marcos Highway at the height of the typhoon. Naguilian was opened later in the afternoon while Marcos Highway, Sunday.

Domogan said the City Camp basin saw minimal flooding owing to the efforts of city engineer's office personnel and barangay volunteers who worked in shifts to clear the tunnel inlets to prevent clogging. – Aileen P. Refuerzo

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