Coastal fire, typhoon Tonyo left hundreds homeless in Puerto Princesa

By Celeste Anna R. Formoso

DOUBLE TRAGEDY hit two coastal barangays here last night leaving hundreds of families homeless and Mayor Edward S. Hagedorn and the City Council appealing for sobriety and help for the victims.

During the onslaught of typhoon Tonyo last night at around 8 p.m., families that are mostly Badjaos, evacuated from the coast of barangay Bagong Sikat due to strong winds and waves that destroyed their homes and keeled over their fishing boats.

At 9:53 p.m., an alleged faulty electrical wiring caused a large destructive fire in barangay Maunlad that drove over 140 families evacuating to barangay centers, churches and basketball courts.

The conflagration proved difficult to control as winds brought by Tonyo were blowing hard, creating thick smokes and sending flying ashes and cinders over trees and nearby houses.

As of press time, the City Council has already declared Puerto Princesa under a state of calamity, according to Hagedorn, who has been on top of the situation since last night with the City Disaster Coordinating Council (CDCC) led by Vice Mayor Lucilo R. Bayron.

“We are still waiting for correct figures to come in, but the city has already been declared under a state of calamity,” Hagedorn said.

He said Maunlad and Bagong Sikat are not the only barangays affected by the calamities. At the CDCC, a report that came in disclosed families also suffered from typhoon Tonyo.

Palawan Governor Joel T. Reyes, on the other hand, has directed the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) to provide all support to the victims of the fire and typhoon Tonyo in the city. According to Provincial Information Officer Rolando E. Bonoan, Jr., the governor was saddened by the twin tragedy that struck the city.

While the fire was on its onslaught, surrounding residents panicked that nearby Petron Depot will be engulfed by the fire. A source in Maunlad said that if the fire was able to creep to the depot, it would have been a conflagration in the city that could have affected residents living as far as the Old City Public Market.

“If that happened, I don’t know what will happen to all of us living near here,” the source said.

The depot was saved by a substantial firewall that separates it away from the residents living in the surrounding area.

Until now, the City Fire Department (CFD) is still determining reports that the fire was due to a faulty electrical wiring.(ThePalawanTimes)

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