LEGAZPI CITY—Tropical storm “Dante” claimed the lives of at least 13 people, including an infant, while nine remained missing in Bicol, the regional Office of Civil Defense (OCD) reported on Sunday.
Nine of the deaths were from Sorsogon province and two each from Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur provinces.
The OCD-Bicol said the bodies of eight people were recovered after being buried in a landslide in Barangay Hubo, Magallanes town in Sorsogon.
Two-month-old Nica Rose Habitan died when her family’s house collapsed in Barangay Gabao, Irosin, also in Sorsogon.
Rescuers were still looking for the nine people reported missing.
Dante has intensified into a storm, packing stronger winds and gustiness as it continued to dump rains on southern Luzon, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Sunday.
As of 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dante was spotted 110 kilometers east of Virac, Catanduanes, with maximum sustained winds of 95 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 120 kph, PAGASA said in its late afternoon weather bulletin.
Dante started out as a tropical depression on Friday before gaining strength and turning into a storm early Sunday morning.
A tropical depression is the weakest among the weather disturbances, with wind speed of 45 to 63 kph. A tropical storm packs winds of 64 to 117 kph, and a typhoon has winds of at least 108 kph.
Sunday afternoon, Dante was moving east-northeast at 7 kph.
Public Storm Signal No. 2 was hoisted over Catanduanes, while Signal No. 1 was raised over Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Masbate, Burias Island, southern Quezon and Polillo Island.
PAGASA earlier raised Signal No. 1 over Sorsogon and Northern Samar but lowered it later in the day.
Monday afternoon, Dante is expected to be 330 km east-northeast of Virac or 810 km east of Casiguran, Aurora, according to PAGASA.
On Wednesday afternoon, Dante is expected to be 1,220 km east of Aparri, Cagayan, but still within the Philippine area of responsibility, according to weather forecaster Manny Mendoza.
Mendoza said Metro Manila would be partly cloudy to cloudy with rains in the afternoon.
The fatalities in Magallanes were identified as Nenette Armanda; Eleanor Balquin; Rodolfo de los Santos; Katrina de los Santos; Renz de los Santos; Jonalyn Coronado, 23; Esendro Hicap, 26; and Kristia Hicap, 1.
The two confirmed dead in Camarines Sur were from Barangay (village) San Antonio Poblacion, Nabua, said a report from the Camarines Sur Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC).
Purificacion Villamero, 61, and her daughter Joy, 28, died of electrocution at 5 a.m. on Sunday when floodwaters entered their house and reached electrical wires.
Earlier, rescuers found the bodies of fishermen Joel Acal, 19, of Mercedes town and Jason Mercado, 23, of Labo town, both in Camarines Norte.
Disaster officials in Sorsogon said they were still trying to get to the landslide area in Magallanes, but the road network had not yet been cleared.
Manro Jayco of the Sorsogon PDCC said communication was also hard as cell phone signals were weak.
A PDCC team also went to the flooded town of Bulan to deliver relief aid to villagers.
All types of vehicles from Legazpi City could no longer reach Sorsogon City as a small road network at the Daang Maharlika was closed after Cawayan Bridge collapsed due to the heavy volume of water from the mountains.
The Bacon-Manito road’s Rawis bridge approach was washed out and impassable.
The OCD-Bicol said the San Roque spillway in Bacon and the Sorsogon bridge at the diversion road was damaged.
A total of 612 families or 2,743 people were moved to 24 evacuation centers in the province, the PDCC said in a report on Sunday.
Officials said a section of the national highway in Nabua, Camarines Sur, remained impassable to small cars due to flooding.
The report added that 17 towns were flooded and three landslides occurred in the province—one in Sta. Rosa del Sur in Pasacao town and two in the villages of San Isidro and Poblacion in Libmanan town.
Albay declared a state of calamity on Sunday to activate relief work using calamity funds. A total of 8,670 families or 44,696 people were evacuated in the cities of Legazpi and Ligao, and in 11 towns.
Incoming flights to Legazpi had been cancelled for three days since Friday.
Signal No. 2 was raised over Catanduanes as Dante intensified and remained off its northern coast as of 10 a.m. on Sunday, Pagasa said.
Dante’s center was 40 km northeast of Virac, the capital town, with maximum sustained winds of 95 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 120 kph.
Virac declared a state of calamity on Saturday, according to the OCD-Bicol. The province has had no electricity since Saturday midnight.
The Department of Public Works and Highways in the province suspended clearing operations due to “unworkable condition.”
A total of 4,561 people remained stranded at 11 ports of Bicol, along with 53 cars, 56 buses, 103 trucks and 31 small vessels, the OCD-Bicol said.
In Eastern Visayas, 1,798 passengers were stranded at the two ports in Allen, Northern Samar, the OCD reported.
As of Sunday noon, 1,147 passengers stayed at Look port and 644 more at Dapdap port, both in Allen town, according to a bulletin released by the regional OCD.
Benlie Linde of the OCD in Eastern Visayas said the passengers, who were all bound for Luzon and Metro Manila, would be allowed to leave if PAGASA would no longer consider Northern Samar under threat from the weather disturbance.
At the Liloan port in Southern Leyte, 118 passengers in small vessels bound for Mindanao were cleared to depart at 9 a.m. on Sunday. With reports from Nikko Dizon in Manila and Joey A. Gabieta Inquirer Visayas
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