Relief goods airlifted to N. Luzon

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The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has airlifted an initial batch of relief goods for residents in Ilocos Sur province affected by Typhoon Ineng.

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Col. Dennis Estrella, PAF Tactical Operation group chief, said the airlift had to be done because there is no access to some towns after roads were blocked due to landslides.

He also said this was also the fastest way to deliver food and other basic needs to the victims of the typhoon. So far, they were able to give away at least 15 sacks of assorted canned goods and 31 boxes of drinking water.

On the same day, the team also went to the towns of San Emilio and Lidlidda to deliver 145 sacks of assorted relief goods and 12 boxes of medicines.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) continued road clearing operations on 15 national roads, which are still closed to vehicular traffic due to landslides and road cuts.

The DPWH has prioritized the clearing operations along Halsema Highway particularly Kilometer 16, Tublay, Benguet that connects Baguio City to certain municipalities of Benguet and the whole of Mountain Province as they continue to check the condition of other road networks.

The death toll due to the wrath of tyhpoon “Ineng” and enhanced southwest monsoon or “habagat” in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) has risen to 15 after four bodies were retrieved during the search, rescue and retrieval operations at Sitio Elizabeth, in Taneg, Mankayan, Benguet province where landslides ravaged shanties of small scale miners on Saturday.

The number of casualties is expected to increase with the on going search, rescue and retrieval operations as the Mankayan Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that 12 people are still missing.

Based on the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Situation Report No. 13 issued at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, 21 persons were reported dead in Mountain Province, Abra, Benguet, La Union, Ilocos Norte, Zambales, and Ilocos Sur.

So far, 23 were reported injured while 15 persons were reported missing.

The number of families affected by the typhoon who were evacuated has reached 23, 965 families or 102, 488 persons from Regions I, II, II IV-A, IV-B and the Cordillera Administrative Region.

In the City of San Fernando in Pampanga, two siblings, a 9-month-old and a two-year-old, died after their house was swept by strong water current at dawn on Sunday in Subic, Zambales. Their 5-year-old brother is also missing.

The damage in agriculture in Cagayan province has reached at least P65 million, according to data from the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist.

Out of this amount, corn plantations registered the highest loss reaching P31.4 million with a total affected area of 5,482 hectares.

Meanwhile, losses from palay is initially placed at P23,334,795 in over 9,300 hectares of rice fields.

In addition, officials fear that the newly-planted palay may not recover if these remain submerged in water for the next couple of days.

High value crops, especially watermelon, have also been affected with a total damage estimated at P9,469,000 while Cagayan’s fisheries sector, including facilities also sustained an estimated damage worth P2.2 million.

The Department of Agriculture still has to complete its assessment of damages incurred by the recent calamity to agriculture in the region.

Meanwhile, in Santa Ana town, government-owned and -controlled corporation officials and residents said damages to property in the area were lessened because of the recently completed P5-billion breakwater project of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA).

However, CEZA Public Relations chief Joyce Marie Jayme-Calimag said the structure was weakened because of the storm, causing misalignment in some portions of the structure.

“Thankfully, the Breakwater is sturdy and reliable that it remained intact despite the cruelty of the weather and prevented the flooding of the community in barangay Casambalangan,” Calimag said.

The region is still expected to experience isolated light to moderate rains and thunderstorms, so local disaster authorities call on the public to remain vigilant.

FROILAN MAGTOTO AND LEANDER DOMINGO WITH PNA

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