Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Storm Surge Leaves Thousands Homeless In South RP's Zamboanga City

Big waves, spawned by Typhoon Mitag, destroyed houses in Sinunuc village in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines and the Philippines's western coast overnight. There were no immediate reports of casualties from the onslaught of waves that sporadically battered coastal villages from the country's mountainous north to the southern island of Jolo from late Tuesday to early Wednesday that left hundreds of families homeless and sending more than 5,000 people fleeing, some falsely thinking there was a tsunami, officials said (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 28, 2007) – Giant waves, spawned by Typhoon Mitag, slammed coastal villages in the southern Philippine port city of Zamboanga, destroying houses and leaving hundreds of families homeless.

Many houses sitting on silts in coastal villages were washed away and residents had fled thinking there was a tsunami.

“Our houses are destroyed. We have nothing, but these tattered clothes. We need help, but there nobody is helping us,” Idris Sangkula, a fisherman, told the Mindanao Examiner.

Seawater also flooded roads here. Some witnesses said strong winds carried the water and sands and debris from the sea.

“It was terrible. You can still see the sands on the road and pieces of broken corals and seaweeds,” Renato Sanches, a cigarette vendor, said pointing to the debris that littered the Roseller T. Lim Boulevard, a favorite stretch in Zamboanga.

Thousands of villagers left homeless by the onslaught of the typhoon sought shelters in higher grounds. But many were also spotted encamping on side of the roads, guarding their valuables and some still salvaging what was left of their houses.

There were no immediate reports of casualties, but local radio stations reported that at least 5 people were rushed to hospitals for wounds they suffered while trying to flee giant waves. A child was also reported missing in Marique village.

Heavy rains the past days also swamped many villages in Zamboanga. Ferry services were also canceled because of dangers posed by the weather. Zambonga City Mayor Celso Lobregat has put many villages under a state of calamity.

There were also reports of evacuations in coastal towns in Basilan and Sulu provinces, although there were no reports of casualties.

Philippine authorities said as many as two dozen people were killed and many injured by the typhoon since it hit the country this week. Another storm was also spotted north of the country, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

The Philippines sits astride the typhoon belt and as many as two dozen storms enter the country every year. (Mindanao Examiner)

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