‘Lawin’ leaves no casualties, minimal damage in baguio

BAGUIO CITY – Supertyphoon “Lawin” unleashed gusty winds and torrential rains but left minimal damage and zero casualty in the city.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan, chair of the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC) said the howler caused six landslides and four soil erosions and damaged 13 houses but no major incident happened during the 12-hour onslaught that began Wednesday night.

“We are thankful that despite our being placed in typhoon signal number 3, the city did not sustain any casualty or any serious damage,” the mayor said.

The CDRRMC operations center under city administrator Carlos Canilao said the typhoon also toppled 58 trees and damaged 10 electrical posts and equipment in the city.  They also recorded two flooding incidents, one damaged riprap, two damaged drainage, a sinkhole in Dominican Hill, one overflowing creek at Hillside and one incident of scattered debris. This was based on the situational report as of 8 a.m. Friday.

The landslides and erosions occurred in Pinsao Pilot, Pucay Village, Honeymoon, Atok Trail, DPS, Km. 4 and Longlong.

The city social welfare and development officer under Betty Fangasan said 481 families composed of 1,910 individuals from 22 barangays were served in and outside the 21 evacuation areas as of 6 p.m. Oct. 20.  Most of the evacuees came from Lower Rock Quarry who were preemptively moved to safety to avoid the expected flooding at the City Camp lagoon.

The basin however saw minimal flooding owing to the efforts of city engineer’s office personnel and barangay volunteers to clear the tunnel inlets to prevent clogging.

Before the expected onslaught of the typhoon, power supply was shut down in the entire city while the precarious Kennon Road was closed to traffic — both were done preemptively as precautionary measures.

As of 8 a.m. October 21, 75.16 percent of the city had their power restored by the Benguet Electric Cooperative Inc.

Kennon Road remained closed and trips all trips going to and from the provinces of Apayao, Kalinga, Ifugao, Mt,. Province, Benguet and Abra were cancelled from Oct 19-21 as per the Department of Transportation.

Personnel from the CEO and the city buildings and architecture office were conducting inspections of the damaged infrastructure and utilities as of presstime Friday.

The mayor last Monday called an emergency meeting with city executives and the media to prepare contingency measures for a worst-case scenario for the typhoon which so far was the strongest to hit the country this year.

Domogan advised residents undertake safety and reinforcement measures for their properties and to move to safer grounds if their lots lie on mountainous and landslide-prone areas including those that exhibit cracks and lined with trees in danger of falling.

He reminded the public to keep a record of the following telephone numbers to call in case of emergency:

CDRRMC operations center at City Hall: 442-1900-05; 09202726222; radio frequency 147.960 megahertz.

By Aileen P. Refuerzo