'Ofel' leaves 24 dead, 19 injured

By Jaime Laude, The Philippine Star

Posted at Oct 28 2012 12:39 AM | Updated as of Oct 28 2012 09:25 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Typhoon “Ofel” left a total of 24 persons killed, nine missing, 19 injured and destroyed P37-million worth of infrastructure and agriculture in the storm-affected areas of the country, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported yesterday.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), on the other hand, said that the country would enjoy generally good weather until the end of October.

NDRRMC executive director Benito Ramos said most of the fatalities were from maritime accidents while the rest where either buried alive by landslides, electrocuted, hit by fallen trees or died in road mishaps while traveling in bad weather.

Out of the total number of fatalities reported by the NDRRMC yesterday, six came from the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) Region 4-A; nine from the Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) Region 4-B, one from Bicol region; two from Central Visayas; one from Eastern Visayas and five from Central Mindanao.

Those injured came from the provinces of Laguna, with one from San Pedro town; four from Naga City in Camarines Sur; one from Lobo, Batangas; one from Makati City in the National Capital Region (NCR) and the rest from storm-hit areas of Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Camarines Sur and Leyte.

Ramos said that ongoing search and rescue operations are still underway for nine missing persons, two of them from Romblon, four from Tacloban City and one each from the provinces of Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay.

A 70-year-old woman drowned and two others are still missing as flashfloods spawned by heavy rains swept through low-lying farming villages in Tulunan, North Cotabato.

Ramos added that heavy rains spawned by Ofel triggered widespread flooding in 12 cities and three provinces of the Calabarzon and Mimaropa regions.

A total of 14,693 families or 66,768 individuals were directly affected by the storm that also totally destroyed 22 houses and partially damaged 95 others.

Camarines Sur and Masbate provinces were the worst hit in terms of damage to agriculture, flood control structures and roads and bridges, while a total of P4.6 million in high value crops and P32-million worth of government and private infrastructure were destroyed.

Damage to palay has been initially placed at P49.5 million covering 3,419 hectares with production loss of about 12,992 metric tons, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Agriculture Assistant Secretary and rice program coordinator Dante Delima said most of the affected rice lands (3,161 hectares) are in the province of Leyte.

“Field validation of damage is still being done by local government units and our field personnel,” he said.

Fair weather

PAGASA forecaster Samuel Duran said that the country would have generally good weather, with some rainfall in some parts of the country.

Based on the Extended Weather Outlook released for some cities for the period of Oct. 28 until Oct. 31, Metro Manila would have some rain today, but will have sunny days from Monday until Wednesday.

Metro Manila would be partly cloudy with brief rainshowers or thunderstorms.

While PAGASA has not spotted any low-pressure area, there is a northeast monsoon affecting the extreme Northern Luzon.

Bicol region, Eastern and Central Visayas and Mindanao would experience occasional light to moderate rainshowers or thunderstorms, while Cagayan Valley would have light to moderate rains.

Moderate to strong winds blowing from the northeast would prevail over Luzon and the coastal waters along these areas would be moderate to rough.

Elsewhere, winds would be light to moderate coming from the east with slight to moderate seas.

Rescued at sea

Ramos also reported that a Philippine Navy gunboat rescued 125 passengers, mostly teachers and students, as well as crewmembers of a passenger motorboat off the coast of Burias Island in Masbate yesterday.

The rescued passengers – 10 teachers and 100 students – were on board M/B Brian from Claveria, Masbate heading for San Pascual town in Burias Island for a Department of Education (DepEd) event today.

Receiving a distress call from the skipper of the passenger boat, BRP Simeon Castro (PG-374) proceeded to the area and rescued the passengers at about 4:30 a.m.

After ensuring the safety of the passengers, the Navy gunboat under the command of Lt. Senior Grade Manuel Suba towed the disabled motorboat to safety at San Pacual Pier in Burias Island.

State of calamity

Meanwhile, the whole province of Oriental Mindoro has been placed under a state of calamity as damage and casualties continue to increase.

The death toll in the province has reached four, the latest of whom were identified as Eleanor Paz, 56, of Bulalacao town; Monalyn Magbanua, also of Bulalacao; and Jun Saez, 38, of Bansud municipality.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Oriental Mindoro declared the whole island province under a state of calamity Friday morning because of the extent of destruction.

The ongoing sports competitions of Batang Pinoy-Southern Luzon Leg was disrupted on Thursday but resumed on Friday.

At least 2,824 families or 10,186 individuals were affected by the typhoon in almost all the municipalities and one city of Oriental Mindoro.

Most of the typhoon victims are from the town of Bansud, which has 1,500 families or 7,462 people affected and now being housed in different evacuation centers there.

As of yesterday, more than 70 percent of Oriental Mindoro was still experiencing power blackout.

Only the main line or the central portion of the capital city and portions of Baco, Naujan, San Teodoro and Puerto Galera towns has resumed electric supply and the management of Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Ormeco) said it will take about three to four days before all the electric consumers in the province get their power supply back. – With Evelyn Macairan, Czeriza Valencia, John Unson, Celso Amo, Juancho Mahusay, Cet Dematera, AP