Ompong death toll rises to 25, says Duterte adviser

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 16 2018 10:43 AM

MANILA -- Survivors sifted through the wreckage of their homes and plodded through flood waters Sunday as authorities accounted for casualties and damage from the year's most powerful storm.

Twenty-five people were killed, due mostly to landslides, said Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Francis Tolentino in separate interviews with DZMM and Agence France-Presse.

"Malungkot na balita yan. Nakikidalamhati tayo sa pamilya ng mga naiwan," Tolentino told DZMM.

(That's sad news. We condole with the families of the victims.)

Thirteen other people meanwhile are still missing, 8 in Baguio and 5 in Benguet, he said.

Tolentino added that there are also injured people across the Cordillera region, 7 in Benguet, 6 in Ifugao, 3 each in Kalinga and Mountain Province, and 2 in Baguio City.

President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to visit the storm-hit areas, Tolentino said, adding the government prepared for the calamity.

"Talagang ganito ang force of nature kung gaano kahanda tayo may limitasyon din. Hindi natin alam ang hagupit ng kalikasan," he said.

(This is the force of nature, no matter how hard you prepare there will be limitations. We can't fully predict nature's wrath.)

Authorities on Sunday attended to thousands displaced by floods and cleared roads of debris Sunday.

As of 6 a.m., 133,457 people were staying in evacuation centers while 14,826 others fled to relatives' homes. A total of 250,036 were affected, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.

All storm signals were lowered on Sunday as Ompong, the strongest typhoon to hit the country this year, churned towards Hong Kong. Monsoon rains will persist over Luzon before the weather improves starting Monday, according to state weather bureau PAGASA.

Cloud clusters are being monitored but they are likely to develop into a new storm, said PAGASA forecaster Gener Quitlong.

Sixty-eight areas were submerged in 1 to 2-feet deep floods, according to the NDRRMC. In Camias village in San Miguel, Bulacan, floods rose as high as 5 to 6 feet, it said.