MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - The province of Albay needs food and housing assistance after 2 consecutive typhoons hit the province, Governor Al Bichara said Monday.
Rolly, the world's strongest storm so far this year and a super typhoon at its peak, left at least 10 people dead in Bicol region, according to the Office of Civil Defense Sunday. A week before, Typhoon Quinta also inundated large swaths of the region.
In Albay, 2 fatalities were confirmed in Guinobatan town, 1 in Daraga, 1 in Polangui and 1 in Malinao, Bichara said.
Guinobatan town has 3 fatalities and 3 missing persons, its mayor Ann Yap Ongjoco told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo in a separate interview.
Lahar submerged around 150 houses and killed residents in the said town, the two officials said.
"'Di namin ine-expect 'yung lugar kasi di naman tinataamaan ng lahar 'yun. Nagoverflow 'yung lahar dahil malaki 'yung deposit sa slope ng Mayon at s'yempre binugbog ng bagyo. Umapaw 'yung kanal at nag-iba ang direksyon," Bichara said.
(We did not expect the area to be hit by lahar. The lahar overflowed because there was a big deposit in the slope of Mayon and was pummeled by the storm. The canal overflowed and changed direction.)
Aside from housing assistance, the province needs food as its funds had already been depleted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Kailangan natin dito pagkain. Wala na silang iha-harvest ngayon. 'Yung palay. Dalawang bagyo sunuran. Mga vegetables sira na rin," Bichara said.
(We need food here. Farmers have nothing to harvest, not even rice. Two storms came after each other. Vegetable crops were also destroyed.)
"Lahat ng LGU (local government) gumastos sa COVID tapos may Quinta pa. Di tatagal, mauubusan kami rito. Kailangan talaga tulong galing sa national government."
(All LGUs used their funds for COVID then Typhoon Quinta came. It will not last long, we will run out of funds. We really need help from national government.)
Roel Duque, a resident of Guinobatan, said his family was unable to save anything except the clothes they wore.
"Halos lahat ng bahay naubos. Gawa po ng baha, galing po sa Mayon gawa nitong quarry. Lahat po naubos, wala man kaming naisalbang gamit. Yung natira sa'min yung suot lang namin," he said.
(The flood from Mayon due to quarrying wiped out nearly all houses. We were not able to save our belongings, only the clothes we wore.)
"Wala kaming matuluyan, wala kaming pagkain."
(We have nowhere to go, we have no food.)
Duque said he got separated from his family during Rolly's onslaught and was later reunited.
"Nakaakyat ako sa puno ng mangga, doon lang ako nasalba... Yung kapitbahay namin yung pamilya nawala. 'Yung kapitbahay namin siya lang natira, buti nga naisalba pa namin eh," he said.
(I was able to climb a mango tree, which saved me. Our neighbor's family is missing, we were fortunate enough to save him.)
Search and rescue operations are underway and the local government will provide food to affected residents, Ongjoco said.
Rolly's strong winds and intense rains also knocked down "almost 80 percent" of electrical posts in the first district, where it made its second landfall on Sunday morning, Bichara said.
"Wala, matatagalan ito, bagsak ang mga poste ng kuryente," he said.
(There's none, it will take long to restore power because electrical posts are down.)
Dr. Cedric Daep, chief of Albay Public Safety and Emergency and Management Office, said some areas in the province’s 3rd district such as Polangui remain inaccessible due to widespread flooding.
“It's not passable even by heavy vehicles, military trucks,” he told ANC’s “Matters of Fact,” adding rescue operation and delivery of relief goods have been hampered.
Based also on their initial inspection, about 50 percent of houses in Albay’s 1st district was damaged while Rolly cut a swathe in the agriculture sector, Daep said.
Before the super typhoon battered Albay, the provincial government has evacuated more than 200,000 people.
Daep feared the toll could have been higher, particularly in areas buried by volcanic mud flows, had people not fled to safety.
“If not because of evacuation, I think we would have thousands or hundreds of people died in areas of Mayon because of lahar,” he said.