Ulysses death toll hits 69; 1.7 million affected

Romina Cabrera - The Philippine Star
Ulysses death toll hits 69; 1.7 million affected
Over 426,600 families or 1.755 million people were affected in 4,543 barangays, according to the latest NDRRMC situation report.
Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — The official death toll of Typhoon Ulysses has risen to 69, with over 1.7 million people directly affected by its onslaught last week.

Executive Director Ricardo Jalad of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said that Cagayan Valley or Region 2 recorded the highest number of fatalities out of the six regions in Luzon.

Over 426,600 families or 1.755 million people were affected in 4,543 barangays, according to the latest NDRRMC situation report.

Of this number, 324,617 people or over 85,300 families are being housed in evacuation centers. The NDRRMC said that 2,991 evacuation centers have been activated and are serving the affected population.

Relief assistance has reached 44,000 people, and medical services have been extended to 28,000 individuals.

Around P32 million worth of assistance was provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and local government units (LGU).

Search, rescue and retrieval (SRR) operations by both the national and local government have saved 83,667 persons, and 62 land assets, 30 water, and nine air assets have been deployed by the NDRRMC for SRR operations to respond to Typhoon Ulysses (international name Vamco).

The latest assessment said that Ulysses totally or partially damaged over 25,852 houses in different regions, with widespread flooding from Cagayan Valley to the National Capital Region and down to Camarines Norte.

Jalad said that Ulysses caused damage to an estimated P1.194-billion in agriculture. The NDRRMC said that recorded infrastructure damage was at P469 million.

This is significantly lower, or a decrease of almost ten-fold, by figures given by Public Works Secretary Mark Villar.

Villar said on Thursday that Ulysses caused around P4.2 billion in infrastructure damage during initial assessment.

A total of 236 road sections and 98 bridges in the regions were affected by flooding, mudflow, landslide or soil collapse. Of this number, 168 road sections and 87 bridges were deemed not passable.

A total of 312 cities and municipalities in the affected regions experienced power outages. There were also 50 municipalities that experienced water supply interruption and another 51 that experienced communication network interruption.

For Cagayan Valley alone, about 342,000 persons or 100,000 families were affected by massive flooding.

Twenty-four deaths were reported in the region, 14 of which were due to landslides. Seven fatalities were reported due to flooding and another three from electrocution.

Around 4,779 personnel from different national government agencies have been deployed for SRR operations, aside from efforts by LGUs.

Power restored

Electric cooperatives (ECs) have restored power in 168 out of 427 cities and municipalities that have been affected by typhoon Ulysses, the National Electrification Authority (NEA) reported.
Data from the NEA-Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Department as of Saturday afternoon, indicated that around 40 ECs in 24 provinces in Regions I, II, III, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, V, and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) have been affected by the recent typhoon.

“About 171 cities and municipalities are partially restored, while the remaining 88 areas are still without power and for restoration,” the NEA said.

It added that power situation in the coverage areas of six ECs is now back to normal, while 34 other ECs are currently undergoing restoration of power lines.

The ECs that have resumed normal operations after completing restoration work include the La Union Electric Cooperative Inc. (LUELCO), Pangasinan I Electric Cooperative Inc. (PANELCO I), Peninsula Electric Cooperative Inc. (PENELCO), Tablas Island Electric Cooperative Inc. (TIELCO), Sorsogon I Electric Cooperative Inc. (SORECO I), and Ticao Island Electric Cooperative Inc. (TISELCO).

In contrast, the ECs undergoing restoration works are those in Benguet, Ifugao, Mountain Province in (CAR); Pangasinan in Region I; Isabela, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya in Region II; Aurora, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales and Nueva Ecija in Region III (Central Luzon); Quezon, Laguna, and Batangas in Region IV-A (Calabarzon); Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay, and Sorsogon in Region V (Bicol).
The NEA reported that the initial cost of damage to power facilities of affected ECs due to the typhoon has reached P70.794 million.

Meanwhile, the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) reported that the number of affected customers stood at 170,303 as of 5 a.m. yesterday.

Bulk of the affected customers are from Bulacan with a total of 110,533. This was followed by Rizal with 33,202 and Metro Manila with 24,389.

Moreover, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) reported that it has restored two transmission lines as of 11 a.m. yesterday.

Among these are the 69-kiloVolt La Trinidad-Mankayan-Sagada line, and the 69-kV Cabanatuan-Kaingin Line Segment.

Billions in agri damage

The latest bulletin from the Department of Agriculture (DA)’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Operations Center showed that updated damage due to Ulysses is at P2.11 billion. Field reports continue to come in.

So far, Ulysses damaged 58,320 hectares of agricultural lands, with production losses at 92,219 metric tons, affecting some 62,533 farmers in the Cordillera, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon and Bicol regions.

The rice sector was hardest hit at P890 million or 42 percent of the damage, affecting 37,360 hectares with 63,805 metric tons (MT).

Fisheries incurred losses of P585 million in fin fish, milkfish, hito and tilapia. Aurora province reported the most damage.

The high value crops sector was also affected with P513 million in damage covering 7,845 hectares and 24,588 MT in produce.

The corn sector was also hit with damage valued at P109 million, affecting 13,114 hectares with 4,827 MT.

For livestock and poultry, damage was estimated at 8,634 heads of animals worth P8.6 million.

Irrigation and agri-facilities and other machineries and equipment have a combined damage of P584,000.

The DA’s regional field offices have prepared interventions for farmers and fisherfolk to be affected including seed reserves for rice and corn, and drugs and biologics for livestock and poultry. It has a standby quick response fund for the rehabilitation of affected areas. Recovery loans are also being readied.

The DA-Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. will also grant indemnity to farmers and fishermen who availed themselves of insurance coverage.

Assistance to LGUs

As of last Saturday, the DSWD said it has provided a total of P13,831,226.75 worth of assistance to the affected LGUs.

Last Friday, DSWD Field Office (FO) Calabarzon hauled 1,000 family food packs (FFPs) for the cities of Sta. Rosa and San Pedro in Laguna. Some 550 sacks of NFA rice from the NFA Provincial Office in General Trias, Cavite have also been delivered to the FO’s warehouse in Dasmariñas.

A total of 12,000 food packs have also been allocated by DSWD FO-Calabarzon to five municipalities in Polillo Island in Quezon province. The food packs will be hauled from the FO’s Cavite Warehouse and will be ferried today to the affected municipalities with the help of the Philippine Coast Guard.

The DSWD FO Calabarzon also allocated food packs for the rest of the affected municipalities in Quezon.

In addition, FO Calabarzon also provided additional FFPs to the Municipality of Siniloan in Laguna. The food packs were distributed to the affected residents at Barangays Kapatalan and Wawa last Friday by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office.

DSWD FO 1, with the help of Philippine National Police Regional Office 1, hauled 1,540 FFPs to the regional FO satellite warehouses in Batac, Ilocos Norte; 2,000 food packs to Bantay, Ilocos Sur; and 700 FFPs to Urdaneta City, Pangasinan which will be provided as augmentation support to the affected LGUs in the region.

In the Cordilleras, the DSWD FO in the region has provided 244 food packs and 69 family kits to affected families in Pinukpuk, Kalinga and 206 food packs to Luna, Apayao.

Based on latest report available last Saturday, some 80,098 families or 303,055 persons are still taking temporary shelter in 2,980 evacuation centers in Regions I, II, III, Calabarzon, Bicol, CAR and NCR.

Last Saturday, some 39 volunteers from Barangay 178, Pasay City helped DSWD personnel prepare food packs that will be distributed to families affected by the typhoon. The volunteers helped produce 5,000 FFPs which will be delivered to Cagayan Valley.
In Quirino province, the towns of Aglipay, Cabarroguis, Diffun, Nagtipunan and Saguday received 200 FFPs each, while the municipality of Maddela was provided 300 FFPs.

Call for probe

Progressive group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) has called for an investigation on the government’s supposed lapses in its response to the Typhoon Ulysses calamity.

“When the situation stabilizes, an independent investigation must be conducted on the lapses and failures in government’s preparations and lapses in relation to Ulysses. There needs to be accountability to prevent a repeat of the disastrous handling of the typhoon and its aftermath,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said in a press statement yesterday.

Manila Archdiocese apostolic administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo, for his part, urged the public to donate to Alay Kapwa Sunday to help dioceses affected by Ulysses.– Catherine Talavera, Louise Maureen Simeon, Rainier Allan Ronda, Elizabeth Marcelo, Evelyn Macairan


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