Baguio City opens access road as search, rescue missions continue

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Baguio City is accessible once again, but authorities advise the public to remain cautious amid the typhoon's departure. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 16) — One of the main roads closed to the public in Baguio City has reopened, to allow search and rescue operations, following the wrath of Typhoon Ompong.

Major Gen. Ruben Carandang, from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in the Cordillera Region, said search and rescue forces have been using the Naguilian Road to respond to the needs of affected communities in Baguio City. 

"Nakaopen ang Naguilian sa ngayon at actually ang ating additional search and rescue contingent doon po dumaan sa Naguilian simula po sa Clark Airbase papunta dito sa Baguio City," Carandang told CNN Philippines. 

[Translation: The Naguilian Road is open for now, and actually, our additional search and rescue contingents have passed Naguilian from Clark Airbase to Baguio City.]

Local authorities closed all main roads to Baguio City, including Naguilian Road, on Saturday to allow clearing operations. 

READ: Baguio isolated due to #OmpongPH

However, Carandang advised the public to remain cautious, adding that government units will maintain red alert status for possible landslides and floods.

"Pagpaliban muna natin 'yung normal activities sa ngayon kasi although wala nang bagyo ay marami tayong binabantayan… Kahit wala na'ng bagyo, we are still on red alert and vigilant, especially for landslide and flash flood," he said. 

[Translation:We'll prohibit normal activities for now because although we no longer have a storm, we still have a lot to watch out for. Even though there's no more storm we are still on red alert and vigilant for landslides and flash floods.]

 

According to the OCD's latest data, six have died, and two have been injured, while eight are still missing in Baguio City. 

Power has also been restored in majority of the areas in the ravaged city, Carandang said. 

"Nagrerecover po itong Baguio. Unang nagrecover 'yang power restoration, 99 percent na po 'yung power restoration dito sa city ng Baguio," he said. 

[Translation: Baguio is recovering. Power was first to recover, as it has been restored in 99 percent of Baguio City.]

Carandang said they are still looking into the number of barangays who suffered from the typhoon's wrath, but have already requested for additional units and ensured the safety of residents.

Cagayan region

Carandang said 63.57 percent of electricity in the entire Cordillera region has been restored. Alert status, however, is up in the region even if Ompong has exited the country.

The provinces of Abra and Benguet have been declared under a state of calamity.

He added that eight gates in Ambuklao Dam in Benguet have been opened as water level reached 751 meters. Water level in Binga Dam, meanwhile, reached 574.31 meters, prompting officials to open six gates.