MANILA (UPDATE) - The year's strongest typhoon left at least 16 dead and 3 missing in heavily-hit Bicol region, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said Monday.
Rolly, a super typhoon at its peak, made 2 landfalls in the region on Sunday morning, prompting some 96,887 families or 372,381 persons to evacuate their homes, the OCD-Bicol said in its latest report.
Of the fatalities, 6 were reported dead in Catanduanes where Rolly made its initial landfall and 10 were recorded in Albay, where Rolly hit land for the second time.
In Albay, 3 fatalities were from Guinobatan town, 2 were from Malinao town, another 2 from Tabaco City, and Daraga, Oas, and Polangui reported 1 each.
In Catanduanes, 4 deaths were reported in Virac, while San Miguel and Gigmoto recorded 1 each.
Three people remain missing in Guinobatan town, where some 147 houses were submerged in lahar and debris from Mt. Mayon, said Mayor Ann Yap Ongjoco.
Aside from Guinobatan, Rolly's strong winds and intense rains dumped lahar in Tabaco City and the towns of Camalig and Sto. Domingo, according to the report.
Albay, Catanduanes, and Camarines Sur still do not have electricity as of 8 a.m. Tuesday, the OCD-Bicol said.
The country's 18th storm this year left an estimated P694.37 million worth of damage to agriculture in Bicol alone, according to the report citing the Department of Agriculture.
Storm signal in all areas were lifted Monday morning as Rolly continued to move away from Philippine landmass. It is forecast to leave the Philippine area of responsibility on Tuesday morning, PAGASA said.
‘2 MILLION AFFECTED’
Disaster officials said some 2 million people were affected by Rolly, which is among the strongest tropical cyclone to hit the Philippines since super typhoon Yolanda in 2013. Of which, over 370,000 were evacuated to safer ground.
Power and water outages were also reported in parts of Luzon, particularly in Bicol Region, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director Ricardo Jalad said in a press briefing in Camp Aguinaldo.
The super typhoon also damaged roads and bridges while hundreds of passengers were stranded in various seaports, he added.
While the government aimed for zero casualty, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año commended local government units (LGUs) for acting swiftly, which kept the fatalities low.
“Siguro, kung hindi nakapaghanda ng husto lalo na sa forced evacuation, ay baka mas maraming casualties,” he said.
(Maybe, if they weren’t able to prepare especially on [implementing] forced evacuation, many would have died.)
As communication lines were down in Catanduanes, where Rolly made its first landfall early Sunday, Año said military personnel had been mobilized to check the area and establish satellite-based mobile communication.
“Ang isang bagay na nakita namin na dapat i-improve natin dito ay ang communication system, katulad ng naganap sa Cataduanes,” he said.
(One thing that we saw that needs improvement is our communication system, like what happened in Catanduanes.)
The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 tropical cyclones annually, and its deadliest on record was super typhoon Yolanda, which left more than 6,300 people dead.