NDRRMC: 4 confirmed dead in 'Pablo' wake

Four people were confirmed dead Tuesday afternoon in the wake of Typhoon Pablo (Bopha), even as disaster management officials verify reports of additional deaths from typhoon-related incidents. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said the four included a soldier who drowned while helping evacuate residents affected by floods in Compostela Valley, radio dzBB's Divine Caraecle reported. Initially, NDRRMC head Benito Ramos confirmed the death of a motorcycle rider in Misamis Oriental and of a woman in Manay town in Davao Oriental. Citing initial reports, Ramos identified the soldier who died as Sergeant Olivares of the Army's 66th Infantry battalion. He said Olivares drowned while helping evacuate residents affected by floods in Andap village in New Bataan town. Ramos said the fourth fatality was from Siquijor. Governor: 6 feared dead in ComVal floods In Compostela Valley, Governor Arthur Uy said at least six residents were feared dead after an Army truck evacuating them to safer ground was swept by floods. Uy cited initial reports reaching him indicating that the incident occurred at Barangay Andap in New Bataan town. "As of 4 p.m. hindi mapasukan ang New Bataan dahil mataas masyado ang tubig," he said in an interview on dzBB radio. He voiced fears there may be more who were swept away by the floods. Uy said New Bataan was one of the worst-hit areas in the province. Citing initial reports, Uy said the Army truck was about to make a turn when it got swept away by the floods. "Nang lumiko sila biglang bumuhos ang baha," he said. When asked if there could be more casualties, he said it is possible. 'Pablo' disrupts communications, damages roads Typhoon Pablo, the strongest storm to hit Mindanao in two decades, disrupted communications and damaged roads in the region, hours after making landfall in Davao Oriental. In its noon update, the NDRRMC said erratic communication was being experienced in Pilar in Surigao del Norte due to damaged cell sites. Also, the NDRRMC said a power blackout was reported in Tandag, Bislig, Hinatuan, Tagbina, Barobo, Lianga and Lingig in Surigao del Sur; and Carmen, Agusan del Norte; and Pilar, Surigao del Norte. Telecom firm Globe issued a service advisory saying it is experiencing a service interruption due to fiber optic cuts in Davao City, Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon at noon due to heavy rains and strong winds brought by Typhoon Pablo. "Subscribers in these areas will temporarily experience difficulties sending and receiving text messages, making calls or connecting to the internet," it said. Also, the NDRRMC said Typhoon Pablo rendered "hardly passable" the national road junction at Pulang Lupa-Sta. Josefa Road in Barangay Sta. Isabel in Sta. Josefa, Agusan del Sur. Meanwhile, the NDRRMC said that as of noon, 11,871 families or 57,501 people in Eastern Visayas and Regions 10 and 11 and Caraga were affected. Of these, 4,984 families or 23,035 people are being served in 54 evacuation centers in Regions 10, 11, and Caraga. It added there were 3,268 stranded passengers, 148 rolling cargoes, 93 vessels and 49 motor bancas. At least 65 flights were canceled due to Typhoon Pablo, it said. Cluster approach The NDRRMC also planned to implement the cluster approach coordination mechanism to address the needs of affected areas in Mindanao. The NDRRMC operations center and the United Nations Humanitarian Country Team conducted a brief initial planning meeting Tuesday. — KBK, GMA News