By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The heavy rains that left portions of Bacolod City flooded last Friday resulted in three deaths. Authorities identified two of the fatalities as five-month-old Jake Lorence Tortogo of Purok Malinong in the city’s Barangay Taculing and Niño Lambarte, a resident of Barangay Mansilingan. While the third has not been identified following requests by their next of kin, officials confirmed the female victim’s remains were discovered along a riverbank near a subdivision in Barangay Vista Alegre.
Based on a statement provided by Tortogo’s mother, Janelle Bulac, to the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO), the wall that separates their home from the river collapsed during the rains and their house was swept away. This resulted in seven people falling into the water, who managed to swim to safety, but the infant disappeared in the water.
A CDRRMO search and rescue operation was immediately initiated but they suspended operation late Friday evening. The following morning, Tortogo’s remains were found along the shoreline of Purok Malipayon in Barangay 35.
Meanwhile, Barangay Mansilingan Captain Boy Pico said Lambarte was killed when a wall near his home collapsed. The victim’s neighbors scrambled to pull Lambarte from the debris and rushed him to Bacolod Adventist Medical Center but he was declared dead on arrival after sustaining multiple injuries.
In a statement issued by CDRRMO officer Aaron Bais, he said their automated rain gauge equipment in Barangay Alangilan recorded a total rainfall accumulation of 102 millimeters between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. last Friday. The city official explained, the amount is equivalent to at least three days of rainfall; adding, the rain experienced in the afternoon coincided with the high tide, which further worsened the flooding situation.
“The heavy rainfall became overwhelming for everyone to cope [with] in spite of the preparedness efforts that we already established,” he said.
The CDRRMO official pointed out, during the flooding, they immediately issued warnings to all 61 barangays to prepare their quick response teams and coordinated with the Department of Education to prepare some schools as evacuation centers. Additionally, both the CDRRMO and city government mobilized their transport units offering free rides to those stranded due to the rain.
In total, CDRRMO recorded two deaths due to flooding but excluded the wall collapse incident.
At least 43 areas of the city were reportedly inundated by the heavy rains./DGB, WDJ