NDRRMC: Back-to-back storms cost over a billion in agri, infra losses

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 24 2017 05:37 PM

The Caraycaray bridge in Biliran province was among critical infrastructure that were damaged when Tropical Storm Urduja hit central Philippines last weekend. Kevin Manalo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Over a billion worth of agriculture products and infrastructure were destroyed by Tropical Storm Urduja and Typhoon Vinta which hit the Philippines days before Christmas, a disaster official said Sunday.

The estimated total damage due to the onslaught of Urduja was estimated at P1.67 billion, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

Damage to infrastructure was pegged at P1.08 billion while damage to agriculture is about P581.4 million, NDRRMC spokesperson Romina Marasigan told reporters.

Some 668 families remain in 28 evacuation centers in the Bicol region and Biliran province, she said.

About 19,647 houses were damaged in the Bicol region, Eastern Visayas, and Caraga region, she added.

Electricity is also yet to be restored in parts of Biliran, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar, and a state of calamity has been declared in 13 areas.

Urduja swamped large swaths of the Visayas and parts of southern Luzon last week before leaving the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) on Tuesday.

The following day, the low pressure area spotted off Surigao del Sur entered PAR and was named Vinta.

It intensified into a typhoon early Sunday after hitting Mindanao as a tropical storm, triggering mudslides and flash floods in several areas that have left at least 200 dead and scores of others missing. 

It left the Philippines around noon.

Citing an initial estimate, Marasigan said Vinta left some P7.8 million worth of damage in agriculture in Agusan del Sur alone. 

About 13,491 families remain in 198 evacuation centers in MIMAROPA, Central Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, ARMM, and Caraga, she said.

Some 556 passengers remain stranded in different ports but the restriction against sea travel may soon be lifted, she added.

The initial report of fatalities in the wake of Vinta was pegged at 123, while about 160 are missing and 14 were injured, she said.

"Ang mga bagyo ay hindi natin dapat isawalang bahala. Bagama't taon-taon nakakaranas tayo nito, hindi natin dapat hindi pansinin ang mga babala na paulit-ulit namang binibigay sa atin ng ating pamahalaan," she said.

"Kailangan natin na sa ganitong panahon, unahin at isaalang-alang ang ating kaligtasan. Makiisa tayo at sumuporta sa panawagan ng evacuation at sa anumang programa ng paghahanda ng ating pamahalaan. Ito lang ang tanging paraan para makaiwas tayo at ang ating pamilya sa mga napipintong peligro," she added.