Storm surge destroys 200 houses in Sulu


ZAMBOANGA CITY: More than 200 houses were destroyed following a storm surge on the coastal town of Jolo in the southern Filipino province of Sulu, officials said.

Officials said at least 236 families were affected by the storm surge brought about by a low-pressure area over much of the region. There was no immediate report of casualties, but the surge also damaged a portion of the Port of Jolo.

Nearly 200 passengers were also stranded in the port after authorities cancelled all boat trips due to the dangers posed by huge waves.

Fazlur-Rahman Abdulla, executive director of the Sulu Area Coordinating Council, said they are collecting other reports from various coastal towns and island municipalities affected by the bad weather that had already killed more than a dozen people across Mindanao.

“Governor Totoh Tan has inspected the damage brought by the storm surge and we are still awaiting reports from other areas so we can assess the extent of the damage and help those affected by the calamity,” he told The Manila Times by phone from the Sulu province.

The Department of Social Welfare said it would send some 2500 relief packs to families affected by the storm surge in Jolo.

In Mindanao, a government militia assigned to escort a ferry fell off the vessel while docked at a wharf in the town of Olutanga in Zamboanga Sibugay province, police said.

It said Roberto Morano, 41, was apparently drunk when he fell off the ferry MV Ever Sweet. His body was recovered by 2 civilian divers hired by the company.

Police said witnesses spotted Morano, a native of Zamboanga City, walking near the edge of the ferry when he lost his balance and fell to the sea. The crew of the ferry tried to rescue him, but they failed to find him in the water until the company decided to hire the two divers.

A policeman’s son is also missing after their jeep overturned while trying to cross a flooded spillway in Zamboanga del Sur.

Officials said the policeman, PO1 Nemesio Batingal, and 12 other passengers, survived the accident which occurred in the village of San Jose in Mahayag town. The jeep was also loaded with bags of fertilizers when strong river current swept the vehicle.

The missing boy was identified as Cyrus Jade Batingal while those who survived were

Jerson Bacus, 19; Jervy Bacus, 18; Julito Paraiso, 52; Alberto Tejero, 38; Elizer Gaed, 31; Tarot Untag, 37; Roger Managing, 44; Alvin Parba; Derio Alvarico, 53;  Edward Marababon, 36; Roel Quizon, 25; and a still unidentified person.

Police said 10 of the passengers just hitched a ride so they can cross the swelling river. AL JACINTO


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