Forced evacuation ordered at ‘ground zero’ in Brgy. Ucab, Itogon

Marje Pelayo   •   September 21, 2018   •   4253

BENGUET, Philippines – Authorities ordered a forced evacuation of ground zero in Barangay Ucab in the municipality of Itogon due to potential landslides as rains begin to drench the already muddy slope.

On Friday, September 21, the emergency team was able to bring down heavy equipment and additional K-9 units to speed up the rescue and retrieval operations.

However, rescuers and volunteers were ordered to immediately vacate the site as recommended by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to limit the number of people in the area in view of another landslide due to continuous downpour.

“We will advise them to get out. Natuto na tayo. Kaya nga nagkaroon ng ganito na hindi sila nakikinig sa advise. But now, meron nang sinabi ang MGB (Mines & Geosciences Bureau) na active ang mga landslide na nakapaligid sa atin. So only the authorized number of people na sinabi ko na mga 30 at siyempre merong PNP dito na magbabantay na wala nang makakapasok dito,” Regional Director Ruben Carandang of the Office of the Civil Defense said.

 The local government will order a forced evacuation of residents in surrounding areas of ground zero and only miners as well as workers of volunteer mining companies will be allowed on site.

 Heavy equipment such as the four backhoes will remain on the ground to fast-track the excavation works.

As of this writing, authorities were able to recover 29 bodies from the landslide areas while 40 more persons remained missing. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

200 miners and families locked down inside bunkhouse in Itogon, Benguet

Marje Pelayo   •   October 27, 2020

BENGUET PROVINCE, Philippines — A total of 200 miners and their families have been locked down inside a bunkhouse in a mining community in Itogon, Benguet after a number of miners tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The local government and health officials in the area have agreed to subject all bunkhouse occupants to the same COVID-19 management protocols being applied to positive cases.

According to Governor Melchor Diclas, inside the bunkhouse were also the 44 miners who first contracted the disease. 

“Ang nag-positive dyan ay 40 plus another nadagdagan kaya mga 50. Kaya ang decision diyan dahil walang paglalagyan pa na quarantine facility kaya ginawa natin na yung bunkhouse na ang quarantine facility o isolation facility doon, (Around 40 people initially tested positive then the number increased to more than 50. So we decided, since there is no quarantine facility available, the bunkhouse itself will be their quarantine facility or isolation facility),” the governor said. 

All positive cases are confined on the third and fourth floors of the building while those who are not sick occupy the ground floor and second floor as they await the result of their swab tests.

While they are inside the bunkhouse, the local government is currently working on establishing an isolation facility where the infected families will be transferred.

On Thursday (October 22), another 74 miners were among the 93 new COVID-19 cases reported in the province, the highest number since the outbreak started in the Cordillera region.

Most miners and their families who tested positive for the disease were from crowded mining communities of Stio Luneta in Barangay Loacan, Sitio Sangilo in Poblacion, Sitio Balatoc in Virac and Barangay Ampucao.

Overall, the province has reported a total of 872 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 426 of which recovered and 11 died of the disease. MNP (with reports from Grace Doctolero)

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Death toll in Nepal floods rises to 55, thousands displaced

Robie de Guzman   •   July 15, 2019

The death toll in Nepal from flash floods and landslides rose to 55 on Sunday (July 14), with dozens missing and injured, the government said.

Ten thousand people have been displaced from their homes as incessant monsoon rains pounded many areas in mostly mountainous Nepal since Thursday (July 11), submerging large areas of land, inundating homes, and destroying bridges and roads across the country.

A Home Ministry statement said 55 people had been confirmed dead and 33 injured, with 30 still missing.

India’s north eastern state of Assam has also been hard hit by the floods brought by the monsoon, with at least 1.5 million people displaced and 10 dead.

In the Chittagong division of Bangladesh there have been 10 deaths and about 500,000 displaced, with 200 villages flooded.

Officials said in some areas rains had eased but rivers in the eastern part of the country were still above flood level.

The Kosi River, which flows into the eastern Indian state of Bihar, was among those that had risen above the flood level.

The Kosi has been a serious concern for both India and Nepal since it broke its banks in 2008 and changed course, submerging large areas of land and affecting more than 2 million people in India’s Bihar state. (REUTERS)

(Production: Emily Cooper)

LGU sets demolition of 720 houses in Itogon, Benguet

Marje Pelayo   •   October 29, 2018


Landslide-prone area in the municipality of Itogon, Benguet

BENGUET, Philippines – Members of the Philippines National Police (PNP) are closely monitoring the areas identified by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) as inhabitable in the municipality of Itogon due to the risk of landslides.

Authorities are also strictly screening residents entering Barangay Loacan. They are required to log in and log out when going in and out of the area to properly account residents.

Meanwhile, Mayor Victorio Palangdan of Itogon, Benguet, around 720 houses and shanties are now ready for demolition in 10 high-risk areas.

Some residents voluntarily demolished their houses to spare some materials which they can recycle such as roofs and woods.

Miners decided to leave the stockpile of mineral ores in their shanties as they deemed it unnecessary to bring them at this time of calamity.

Relief goods are now being distributed in evacuation centers for families who left their homes ahead of Typhoon Rosita. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Grace Doctolero)


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