Teen drowns in flash flood

08/31/2010 - A FLASH flood in the mountain barangay of Cogon, Naga swept away three young siblings and their grandmother last Sunday afternoon.

Agripina Paran, 55, and her 12-year-old grandson Reynan clung to some boulders until they were rescued from the raging water.

But 13-year-old Cris was found dead about one kilometer away. She had head injuries, apparently from hitting big boulders while being swept away by the flood, said Narciso Tablate, team leader of Rescue 761.

Her eight-year-old brother Reniel remained missing yesterday.

A team from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau regional office will be sent to Naga to investigate the site, as well as reports a landslide also took place, apart from the flash flood. A City of Naga engineers’ team will also inspect the river.

The accident occurred near a quarry that reportedly belongs to JLR Construction and Aggregates Inc., which declined to comment on what happened.

Agripina fetched her grandchildren in West Poblacion, Naga last Sunday, so she could treat them to some young corn in her house in Sitio Cabuan, Cogon.

Cogon is about 10 kilometers away from the city proper.

“Iyang gikuha iyang mga apo didto sa Naga kay aron magsugba sila og mais kay mao man nay kalipay sa mga bata (Their grandmother picked them up so they could have some roasted young corn, which the children enjoy),” Elmer Paran, a councilman of Cogon and an uncle of the children, told Sun.Star Cebu.

Rina Paran, 34, the siblings’ mother, initially hesitated to allow her children to go with Agripina because she lacked money for their fares. But upon the children’s insistence, Rina gave in.

Elmer said rain started to pour while the four victims were walking on the road beside Guindaruhan River at 4 p.m.

A few meters before reaching the quarry site of JLR Construction and Aggregates Inc., Elmer claimed, raging waters from the mountain passed through the road, instead of going to the river, and swept the victims away.

“Mura’g ang ulo sa baha maoy miigo nila. Mao tong nabanlas siya paingun sa sapa (The flood water hit them. That’s probably why the girl was swept away),” Elmer said.

Agripina had a big cut in the right leg and suffered bruises in her body, while Reynan had scratches and bruises.

Rescuers and concerned residents found her and Reynan clinging to a boulder.

Cris, who was found in a portion of the river between the boundary of Naga and Minglanilla, was taken to Minglanilla District Hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Agripina and Reynan were also treated at the same hospital. They were released yesterday morning.

Elmer and Tablate, a councilor of Barangay Inayagan, Naga who led the team of rescuers, said one of the factors that caused the flash flood was the failure to set up “benching” in the mountain and put up huge culverts in the area.

Benching involves designing a quarry to have steps or benches where mining takes place. This is done so that the slope of the mountain does not become too steep. The measure is supposed to prevent landslides.

“Sa akong tan-aw, diha gikan ang tubig tungod anang quarry nga way canal (I think the water came from near the quarry, which does not have a canal),” Tablate said, pointing to the quarry site.

Tablate said there were culverts placed sporadically, but these were not enough. He also said the culverts were too small.

Cogon Barangay Captain Emiliana Talandron has called for an emergency meeting today to discuss the incident and what can be done to help the victims.

Elmer said they might also consider the possibility of inviting a representative from JLR to ask the company what measures they will implement following the incident. (Sunstar)

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