1 dead, thousands displaced in Bicol floods

An 18-year-old woman died while thousands were evacuated due to massive flooding spawned by heavy rains in the Bicol region since Sunday, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) reported yesterday.
Raffy Alejandro, OCD-Bicol director, said Lea Alarcio, a resident of Sitio Omandao, Monte Calvario in Buhi, Camarines Sur, was swept away by strong currents while crossing Lake Buhi during the heavy downpour.
Alejandro said Jocelyn Bamar, 46, a crew member of TV5, was injured when she slipped while crossing a bridge in Barangay Busay in Daraga, Albay.
He said at least 3,537 persons were evacuated from the landslide-prone and low-lying areas in Libon, Jovellar and Polangui towns.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said the evacuees would be sent home as soon as the weather improves. “We just moved them as a sort of pre-emptive evacuation,” he said.
The Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office said 220 hectares of rice fields were also damaged.
Salceda, meanwhile, ordered the suspension of classes in both public and private schools yesterday.
He said the Coast Guard has banned small boats from sailing.
Salceda said rain gauges have recorded that Sunday’s rainfall was equivalent to one half of the monthly average rainfall of the province.
Danilo Dequito, Department of Public Works and Highways regional director for Bicol, said the national highway in Barangay Patitina in Sangay town in Camarines Sur was hit by a landslide and was not passable as of 6 a.m. yesterday.
Alejandro said electricity was also cut off in Naga City. – By Cet Dematera and Celso Amo (Philstar News Service, www.philstar.com)

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