‘Paolo’ leaves 9 dead in Zamboanga

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ZAMBOANGA CITY: The local government here said nine people have died and three others injured, while over 21,000 were affected by Typhoon “Paolo” (“Lan”) which devastated much of the city’s agricultural lands and fishery areas.

Weather experts said “Paolo” was heading to Japan, but a new low pressure area has developed in central Philippines affecting some parts of the southern region.

A couple was pinned to death after a huge tree, uprooted by heavy rains and strong winds, crashed into their house early on Wednesday in Sinunuc village.

Jocelyn Sajili was killed on the spot by the weight of the heavy Balete tree and her husband, Nasser, was pinned under the debris. Their two children were safely pulled out from under the house by rescuers and brought to a hospital for injuries.

Authorities did not provide other information about the other casualties on Saturday.

Damage to crops and fisheries have reached nearly P166-million and another P20-million in infrastructure damage in 23 villages. About 2,499 farmers and fishermen were directly affected by weeklong heavy rains. Storm surge also destroyed dozens of houses in coastal villages.

Classes in all levels had been suspended since October 16 as the local government placed Zamboanga City under state of calamity to hasten the release of funds.

The City Agricultural Office released the breakdown for the damaged areas and their total value including number of farmers affected as: rice – 367.6 hectares – P24.241- million affecting 337 farmers; corn – 266.2 hectares – P10.851-million with 181 farmers; assorted vegetables – 393.5 hectares for P78.517-million of 573 farmers; banana – 8 hectares at P406,738 affecting 43 farmers; seaweeds – 687.8 hectares – P18.540-million affecting 1,082 farmers; fishpond – 928.2 hectares of P23.045 million of 282 farmers and rubber – .2 hectares.

Of the 98 villages here, it said 23 were hardest hit by heavy rains, flash floods and storm surge including barangay (village) Ayala, Calarian, Campo Islam, Labuan, Limpapa, Maasin, Patalon, Sinunuc, Talisayan, San Jose Gusu, Villa Sta. Maria, Tugbungan, Tetuan, Boalan, Mangusu, Vitali, Tumaga, San Roque, Licomo, Tictapul, Taluksangay and Pamucutan.

About 88 houses were totally destroyed and 197 partially damaged as a result of the flash floods and storm surge incidents, according to the City Social Welfare and Development.

Social workers continue on Saturday relief operations in the villages and evacuation centers. Local radio stations E-Media, Radio Mindanao Network and Brigada also launched their own relief efforts to help those displaced by the typhoon.

While “Paolo” was beginning to move away on Friday, its outer rainbands will continue to trigger moderate to heavy rain in the regions of Bicol, Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) and the Visayas. Residents in these areas were advised to be on alert for flash floods and landslides.

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