MANILA - The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) has confirmed the first official fatality from the onslaught of Typhoon Nina.
Gregorio Ruel, 43 years old from Mulanay, Quezon, died at 2 a.m. of December 26, after getting hit by a falling coconut tree while he was evacuating his family.
Ten more names are on the NDRRMC's list of possible typhoon-related deaths. However, some missing information - such as identity, time and place of death, or cause of death - have yet to be completed, preventing the NDRRMC from confirming that these deaths indeed were due to the typhoon.
The agency is also validating four other people who are reportedly missing. Seventy-nine people were reported injured.
DISCREPANCIES ON M/V STARLITE ATLANTIC
The NDRRMC also expressed confusion regarding the figures released by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on M/V Starlite Atlantic, which sank off the coast of Batangas.
Mina Marasigan, spokesperson of the NDRRMC, said the Philippine Coast Guard was releasing figures different from what was officially reported to them.
"Ganito po yung initial na information na natanggap po natin doon sa management po ng M/V Starlite Atlantic, 'yung unang koordinasyon sa kanila, ang sabi po may 22 na crew members, 14 na po ang nasagip, so merong walo po na missing. So 'yun po ang initial information, at 'yun po ang binigay sa atin sa National Council," said Marasigan. "And then yesterday, the Philippine Coast Guard was announcing 18 yung missing, dahil nagkaroon sila ng pakikipag-usap doon sa mga crew members na na-rescue, and apparently sabi ng mga crew members, hindi kami 22, 33 kami."
Marasigan said the names of these 22 crew members were submitted to them, thus enabling them to monitor, but the PCG has been unable to give the names of the 11 others they have reported missing as well.
"Hinihiling po natin sa Philippine Coast Guard kung sinu-sino po itong 18 ito na binabanggit nila," Marasigan said. "Para magkaroon kami ng kaalaman kung talagang 18 itong missing, baka pwedeng bigyan tayo ng manifesto o listahan po ng mga pangalan kung sinu-sino po ang mga ito."
Marasigan also hopes the PCG can explain these discrepancies.
"I hope the Philippine Coast Guard would actually explain kung bakit," said Marasigan.
HOUSES DESTROYED, INFRA DAMAGED, VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
In the Bicol Region alone, the NDRRMC said 30,897 houses were damaged by the typhoon. Of this number, 9,672 of these were totally destroyed, while 21,225 were partially damaged. Other provinces have yet to report on their damage assessment on homes destroyed.
As of today, 42,531 families are still in 507 evacuation centers across CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Bicol Region, and Eastern Visayas. Two-hundred classrooms in 77 schools are currently being used as temporary shelters for those affected.
Due the large number of houses destroyed or damaged, the NDRRMC projects that these evacuees may have to stay longer inside evacuation centers. They are calling on volunteers to help them repack more family food packs for distribution.
Marinduque and Oriental Mindoro have estimated the cost of damage to their infrastructure and river control systems at P83,460,000. Other provinces have yet to report on their estimated cost of damage.
The primary need at the moment are shelter materials for the eventual rebuilding of lost homes. The NDRRMC is in close coordination with international aid agencies, but has not yet tapped them for aid because they are still in the process of assessing what assistance is needed, or whether the Philippines should require international assistance at all in this instance.