16 dead, 14 missing in Natonin, MP due to avalanche of mud and rocks
BONTOC, Mrn. Prov.– The building of the Mountain Province Second District Engineering Office located at Hakrang, Banawel, in the eastern municipality of Natonin was totally washed out and buried by an avalanche of mud and boulders at about 4-5 pm last October 30, 2018 during the onslaught of Typhoon Rosita.
According to Mayor Mateo Chiyawan, in a phone interview, the building was totally damaged and cannot be found where it used to stand. The site is now a mess of mud and boulders.
“Agasem met gamin dagitoy nagdadakkelan a bato”, he said.
The building was located beside a creek and located at the right side shoulder of the road going to Paracelis. There were houses above the road.
Information gathered indicated that the victims used the building as shelter since they believed that it was sturdy being made of concrete.
Except for one, there were no employee casualties as Governor Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr. declared Oct. 30 and 31 as non-working days.
Engr. Melba Lengwa, an engineering staff, said that they were about to go home to Bontoc but were not able to as both the roads to Barlig and Paracelis were closed by slides.
“It is good that the District Engineer went to Paracelis”, she said.
As of Oct. 31, 2018, the reported number of evacuees were 29, 20 laborers of RAF Construction and Moments Diagram, 1 project Engineer, 3 Security guards, and 5 local evacuees.
A certain Engr. Galong, of Besao, Mtn. Prov. was the only reported fatality among the employees. She was reportedly working overtime when the avalanche occurred.
As of this morning of Nov. 5, 2018, 16 cadavers were retrieved and were identified and 16 still missing. The news is so fluid. The major TV channels including CNN reported early this morning that 17 cadavers were recovered and 12 were missing, only for this to be corrected a few minutes after by the Regional Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Office. The official numbers are 16 cadavers recovered and 14 missing as the search and retrieval operation was extended up to Friday.
There are now so many groups of rescuers on ground zero including those from Region 2 (the Cagayan Valley). All the major TV channels have staff and reporters there. A backhoe managed to reach ground zero so the pace of the operation will go a lot faster.
The initial SAR resulted in the rescue of the following persons: Joventino Lamawen , Innocencio Gollingay, Fritz Gerald Lumpanga, Jupiter Pacyod, Jun Jun Gulingon and Machanum.
Meanwhile, the lifeless body of Joeffrey Nagaowa was also recovered from a separate landslide at Sitio Imisan, Barangay Alunogan, Natonin at around 6:30 P.M. of October 30, 2018. Also, Mike Saleo-an of Banawel, Natonin, allegedly died of drowning at the height of Typhoon “Rosita.”** Roger Sacyaten