Ambo leaves at least P1.26 billion in agriculture, infrastructure damage

Rose Carmelle Lacuata, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 19 2020 09:00 PM

MANILA - The first typhoon to hit the country this year left at least P1.26 billion worth of damage to agriculture and infrastructure, the disaster management agency said Tuesday, just as the nation grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic that has set back the economy.

In a report released 12 noon Tuesday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Typhoon Ambo (international name: Vongfong) caused P121 million worth of damage on infrastructure, mainly in Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, the Bicol Region, Eastern Visayas and the Cordillera Administrative Region.

Cagayan Valley reported the biggest cost of damage to infrastructure at P97.5 million, followed by Eastern Visayas at P11 million.

NDRRMC also reported that a total of 96,335 families or 366,434 persons in 259 municipalities were affected by the typhoon. There were also 54 persons injured in Central Luzon and Central Visayas.

Eastern Visayas was the most affected, with 95,272 families stricken by the typhoon. Of this number, 41,866 families were from Eastern Samar while 53,406 were from Northern Samar.

NDRRMC reported no fatalities due to the typhoon, but local authorities earlier reported 3 dead in Eastern Visayas and 1 in Quezon.

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture reported P1.14 billion worth of damage in crops, Agriculture Assistant Secretary Noel Reyes said in a press briefing Tuesday.

High value crops such as abaca, banana, cacao, calamansi, cassava, coconut, coffee, corn, mango, oil palm, onion, pineapple, rice, rubber, seaweeds, and sugar were mostly affected, with damage amounting to P793.15 million.

But the damage is not significant, the agency said, as they were able to prepare for the onslaught of the typhoon ahead of time by advising farmers to harvest mature crops early.

“Sa oras na makakuha tayo ng datos hinggil sa bagyo, agad tayong nagpapalabas ng bulletin sa regional field offices na agad ding nagpapalabas ng advisory sa kanilang nasasakupan,” Reyes said.

(The moment we get data on a typhoon, we immediately release a bulletin in regional field offices, which also urgently release an advisory in their areas.)

The farmers are now preparing for the wet season planting, and the agency is in the process of assessing affected farmers.

A total of P700 million has been prepared for the rehabilitation of affected areas. The program includes giving away rice seeds and farm supplies to those affected.

Ambo struck with tens of millions of Filipinos cooped up in their homes because of the coronavirus, but at least 140,000 had to flee because of the powerful storm, disaster officials said. Ambo toppled trees, knocked out power lines and destroyed houses in its wake.

- with a report from April Rafales, ABS-CBN News