THE death toll from Typhoon Glenda (international codename: Rammasun) rose to 40 on Thursday as disaster officials received more reports from provinces hit by the strongest typhoon to enter the country this year. Four persons were declared missing.
The high number of fatalities alarmed National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) chief Alexander Pama since the government had aimed to have zero fatality from the typhoon.
“We still have to find out what exactly are the reasons [why]a lot of our countrymen refused to heed the warnings,” Pama said. “This cannot be considered anymore as minimal,” he added.
As part of the government’s “zero casualty” campaign, nearly 400,000 people living in areas on the path of the typhoon were evacuated and told to stay indoors.
But many of the people who died were outdoors, killed by falling trees, collapsing buildings and flying debris, according to the NDRRMC.
Pama said the death toll could rise further.
Glenda pummeled Metro Manila and several other provinces from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning.
“It really scrambled whole towns, blowing down houses and toppling power lines,” the chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, Richard Gordon, said.
Statistics showed that a total of 192,131 familes or 1,006,160 individuals from Metro Manila and Regions I, III, IV-A, IV-B, V and VIII were affected by the typhoon.
Region V tops the list with 130,814 families or 708,958 people affected, followed by Region IV-A with 42,086 families or 208,114 people; Region VIII, 8,006 or 37,630 individuals; Region III, 5,278 families or 23,489 individuals; Metro Manila, 5,016 or 24,348 individuals; Region IV-B, 869 families or 3,559 individuals; and Region I with 62 families or 262 individuals.
At least 15 roads and bridges were rendered impassable due to floods.
Damage to agriculture
Meanwhile, damage to the agriculture sector was placed at P2.324 billion.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) said agriculture and fisheries in 15 provinces in four regions, including Quezon in Calabarzon; Occidental and Oriental Mindoro in Mimaropa; the entire Bicol Region; and Leyte, Southern Leyte, Biliran, Samar, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar in Eastern Visayas, were affected.
The fisheries sector suffered the biggest blow at P810 million after Glenda destroyed fish cages and equipment in Region 3 (Bataan and Pampanga), Region 4A (Laguna de Bay) and Region 8.
Rice farmers also suffered major damage as strong winds and heavy rains devastated some 43,536 hectares of rice lands. But DA Secretary Proceso Alcala said more than half, or 23,437 hectares of the areas affected, had a chance of recovery.
High value crops such as highland and lowland vegetables registered the third biggest loss, initially estimated at P481.15 million.
Corn areas affected reached 22,627 hectares, or 42,448 MT valued at. P391.65 million. “As always, we at the DA stand ready to provide assistance to farmers and fisheries whose sources of livelihood and income were affected by the typhoon,” Alcala said.
He added that regional field units have arranged programs for affected rice and corn farmers, as well as vegetable seeds good for one month.
For typhoon-ravaged communities whose food supplies may have been disrupted, Alcala said they have mobilized the DA-Agribusiness Marketing and Assistance Service to coordinate with suppliers to deliver food supplies to help ensure food security and price stability.