1 dead, 5,316 persons evacuated in Zambales

IBA, Zambales — One died while some 5,316 persons temporarily sought shelter in evacuation centers across Zambales province on Sunday night as Super Typhoon Karding caused flooding in low-lying areas.

Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. said the provincial government called for preemptive evacuation in coastal areas and flood-prone communities late Sunday afternoon to avert disaster and opened barangay halls, schoolhouses and health centers for evacuees.

A 60-year old resident of Cabangan town identified as Angel Garcia, has died after he was reportedly swept away by floodwaters at Barangay Cadmang Reserva at the height of the typhoon.  

His body was found by searchers Monday afternoon, a report from the Zambales Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRRMO) indicated.

Ebdane said the preemptive evacuation had minimized loss of life even when Zambales was placed under Storm Signal No. 5. 

Although Karding somewhat weakened when it passed over Sierra Madre mountains in eastern Luzon, weather experts said it packed maximum sustained winds of 195 km/h near the center, with gustiness of up to 240 km/h. The typhoon is now moving westward at a speed of 20 km/h.   

Ebdane said that as early as Sunday noon, the provincial government had activated emergency operations centers (EOCs) in three areas in Zambales and prepositioned emergency response equipment, action teams, and food supplies at the EOCs.

According to PDRRMO records, residents evacuated in 10 of the 13 municipalities in Zambales. Most of the evacuees were reported in the northernmost town of Santa Cruz, with a total of 1,144 families and 3,854 individuals in temporary shelters. 

Meanwhile, a total of 439 persons were evacuated in Candelaria town; 142 in Masinloc; 16 in Palauig; 78 in Iba; 403 in Botolan; 605 in Cabangan; 14 in San Narciso; 30 in Castillejos; and 5 in Subic town.

Ebdane said most of the evacuees have returned home as of Monday afternoon. 

“Meanwhile, we will continue to provide them food packs to the remaining evacuees, as well as other residents who were also affected by the typhoon,” Ebdane said.

He said the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) had readied 4,000 packs of 5-kilo rice and 3,500 packs containing canned goods, noodles and coffee last Sunday. Another 13,000 food packs were prepared on Monday for further distribution.

The governor, who made the rounds of the province Monday morning to assess damages, also ordered the Provincial Engineering Department to coordinate the restoration of services and facilities disrupted by Karding. 

He also instructed the Provincial Tourism Office to suspend all beach and water activities until further notice.

At the height of the typhoon, four barangays in Cabangan town, namely Mabanglit, Apo-Apo, Cadmang, and San Rafael were flooded in from waist- to chest-deep waters, the PDRRMO said.

Meanwhile, initial reports placed damage on rice crops in the municipality of San Antonio at P141,103; P262,000 in Cabangan; P171,000 in Iba; and P834,700 in Santa Cruz, the PDRRMO report showed.