ZAMBOANGA CITY: Typhoon Quedan has left a trail of destruction in a large part of Zamboanga City, flooding many areas on Tuesday that affected thousands of people and paralyzing the local economy just as it is slowly picking up the pieces left by three weeks of fierce fighting between security forces and separatist rebels.
But bad weather continues because of the inter-tropical convergence zone, which severely affected central and southern Philippines where nearly 93,000 people had been displaced or affected by flash floods. Weather experts are also monitoring a new typhoon code named Danas.
Several people were reported missing after flash floods submerged many villages here. Heavy rains continued since October 4 and flooding has shut down the local airport and sea travel was suspended, trapping many travelers in Zamboanga.
Many signboards and bill-boards were also destroyed by strong winds. A landslide was also reported in Tungawan town just outside Zamboanga, but it was not immediately known if there were casualties or none.
In downtown Zamboanga, shops were also forced to close owing to the rising floodwaters. The Yubengo Mall also shut down after floodwater sipped through the department store and submerged its parking area.
Mayor Maria Isabelle Salazar has suspended all work in government and private offices, including classes in all levels in both public and private schools because of heavy rains and massive flooding, but exempted those providing frontline services.
She said rescue teams were deployed in affected villages to rescue those trapped in the floods.
“Rescue teams have been dispatched to flooded areas and barangay officials are directed to utilize 5-percent Calamity Fund and mobilize resources to assist their constituents. People residing along riverbanks and low lying areas are advised to seek safer grounds while weather condition remains abnormal,” she said.
Councilman Victor Liozo, who is also with the local chapter of the Red Cross, said several houses near river-banks or shorelines were destroyed.
The devastation came just barely a month after fighting left over 400 people dead and wounded in Zamboanga following simulta-neous attacks by Moro National Liberation Front rebels. The violence displaced more than 100,000 people.