State of calamity pushed for Luzon
Villagers receive food packs from a Philippine National Police-Special Action Force helicopter team during the distribution of relief goods in isolated barangays in Cagayan province yesterday.
Michael Varcas

State of calamity pushed for Luzon

Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - November 17, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Following the widespread devastation and flooding brought by Typhoons Quinta, Rolly and Ulysses, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) urged President Duterte to place the entire Luzon under a state of calamity.

Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, NDRRMC executive director and Office of Civil Defense administrator, said an emergency meeting was held yesterday to discuss the impact of the recent typhoons, the declaration of a state of calamity and early recovery actions taken.

He said the council recommended to the President the declaration of a state of calamity in the entire Luzon to address the impact of the latest typhoons that hit the country.

Jalad said it was also agreed that a technical working group of the joint prevention, mitigation and preparedness clusters of the NDRRMC should be convened to assess the current dam management.

Most of Cagayan province was submerged during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses last week and the floods were allegedly aggravated by the release of water from Magat Dam to avoid spilling and protect the structural integrity of the dam.

He said the NDRRMC meeting was held via teleconference, joined by various agencies and several local chief executives of areas affected by the typhoons.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who is also chairman of the NDRRMC, ordered the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to revisit its historical data to strengthen warnings beforehand.

Jalad said Lorenzana raised various concerns with different agencies, including the provision of assistance to the affected farmers and fisherfolk; road clearing; shelter requirements and other recovery interventions.

Damage to the agriculture sector in areas battered by Ulysses has increased to P2.5 billion.

The latest bulletin from the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Operations Center showed that updated damage due to Ulysses is now at P2.53 billion even as field reports continue to come in.

So far, Ulysses damaged 71,466 hectares of agricultural lands with production losses at 109,117 metric tons, affecting some 71,466 farmers in Cordillera, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon and Bicol region.

The rice sector was hardest hit at P1.11 billion or 44 percent of the damage, affecting 48,656 hectares with 75,521 MT.

The high value crops sector was also affected with P703 million in damage covering 9,227 hectares and 28,648 MT in produce.

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

The corn sector was also hit with damage valued at P122.16 million, affecting 13,583 hectares with 4,948 MT.

For livestock and poultry, damage was estimated at 22,632 heads worth P11.8 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 including seed reserves for rice and corn, and drugs and biologics for livestock and poultry.

Death toll 69

Disaster management officials said that the death toll of Ulysses has risen to 69 with over 1.7 million people directly affected by the storm last week.

Quirino Gov. Dakila Cua reported yesterday that seven people, including a 10-year-old boy, drowned in a mining site that was flooded by rains brought by Ulysses.

He added that as of yesterday, main thoroughfares and bridges in the province were reopened to traffic as floodwaters subsided. Some barangays, however, remain isolated due to risks of landslide.

“We have a few left in our evacuation centers. People still there are those whose houses were severely affected,” he said at the Laging Handa public briefing.

Search teams recovered three more bodies of landslide victims in Barangay Viewpoint, Banaue, Ifugao.

Cordillera police director Brig Gen. RWin Pagkaliniwan said nine bodies were recovered after the landslide last Nov. 11 that buried a house where 11 individuals were staying.

A survivor is now recuperating in a local hospital.

A dismembered left foot was also found Sunday before lunch at Riverside, sitio Bayucan, Tungod, Lagawe, which may have been from one of those still missing.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) continues to conduct relief operations for typhoon victims in Cagayan and Bicol.

PCG personnel distributed food packs prepared and given by the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office in Amulung and Alcala towns in Cagayan.

Floodwaters have remained in low-lying areas along the Angat River in the towns of Norzagaray, Angat, Bustos, Baliuag, San Rafael, Pulilan, Plaridel, Calumpit, Hagonoy and Paombong, all in Bulacan.

Low-lying areas along the river tributaries within the Pasac-Guagua sub-basin in Pampanga remain submnerged in the towns of San Fernando, Mexico, Bacolor, Guagua, Sasmuan, Minalin, Lubao, Sto. Tomas, Sta. Rita, Sta. Ana, Mabalacat, Magalang and Angeles City in Pampanga.

Floods have also not receded in parts of Zaragosa, Concepcion, La Paz, Zaragosa, San Antonio, Licab, Aliaga, Quezon and Sto. Domingo in Nueva Ecija. — Helen Flores, Louise Maureen Simeon, Evelyn Macairan, Neil Jayson Servallos, Artemio Dumlao, Ramon Efren Lazaro, Victor Martin.

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