MANILA - Tropical storm Rosita left nine people dead after lashing northern Luzon as a typhoon, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Wednesday.
NDRRMC Spokesperson Edgar Posadas told reporters that the victims were from the Cordillera Administrative Region: four from Ifugao, three from Mountain Province, and one each from Kalinga and Abra.
The victims from Mountain Province were among those buried when a landslide hit a building of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the town of Natonin. Posadas said 29 other people are feared buried beneath the debris.
He said the DPWH building was still under construction, according to reports. When Typhoon Rosita hit, the construction engineer, security guard, construction workers and 4 other people sought shelter at the construction site and eventually got trapped.
"Ang nangyari kasi dun, this DPWH building, bago eh. 'Di mo akalain na babagsakan ng ano 'yun eh. Wala namang immediate na puwedeng bumagsak. Hindi dapat nangyari, pero nangyari,” said Posadas.
(What happened there was, this DPWH building was new. You don't imagine that something would fall on it because there was no immediate threat that something was going to fall. It was not supposed to happen, but it happened.)
Posadas said everything was done to warn and ensure the safety of residents in areas on the path of the storm. He said the town of Dinapigue in Isabela where Typhoon Rosita made landfall on Tuesday recorded no fatality.
The NDRRMC said 360 people were participating in ongoing rescue and retrieval operations.
DPWH Secretary Mark Villar is reportedly en route to Natonin to check on rescue efforts.
Rosita hit land on Tuesday and weakened as it made its way out of the Philippine area of responsibility.