26,000 villagers evacuate as Isabela suffers brunt of ‘Ompong’

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CITY OF ILAGAN, Isabela — The province of Isabela bore the brunt of Typhoon Ompong as it made a landfall in Baggao town, which is just 129 km from here, around 2 am. on Saturday.

Strong winds and heavy rains pounded the whole province, causing massive floods and the evacuation of a total of 25,997 villagers from low-lying areas including this city, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) chief Edmund Guzman told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

No fatality was reported but a man was injured for undisclosed reason while three persons were initially arrested for drinking alcohol despite the liquor ban.

The evacuees were given temporary shelter at community centers in the various towns of the province, with their needs attended to by the respective local officials.

In Tumauini, social welfare officer Marilen Fugaban said they gave relief packs and utensils to 833 villagers who took refuge at the community center.

Meanwhile, the bridges of Alicaocao in Cauayan City, Santa Maria-Cabagan, Baculod, Napaccu in Reina Mercedes and San Agustin were left impassable by swelling rivers.

In Alicaocao, Cauayan City, villagers were prevented from crossing the river by boat as the water current had been strong, Bernabe Lagot, Cauayan public order and safety office personnel, told the PNA. “The water flow is too strong and we only think of the safety of the villagers,” he added.

Clearing operations through cutting of felled trees and cleaning of debris, among others, were immediately started after “Ompong” left toward the direction of locos Norte. Village officials and volunteers from all the province led the operations.

Some villagers had asked for help from local officials as their houses were damaged by the typhoon.

A vendor, Norma Credo of Ballesteros in Cagayan, told the PNA that the roof of their house was blown away by gusty winds early Saturday. (PNA)

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