THE DEATH toll due to flash floods and landslides brought by Tropical Depression “Usman” rose further to 85, while 16 other people remained missing, disaster officials said in an update on Tuesday night.
Based on a 7 p.m. report by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Bicol, the region alone accounted for 69 fatalities, mostly from landslides and drowning.
The fatalities in Eastern Visayas remained at 13 as recorded by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the OCD said.
The NDRRMC also reported three more deaths in the other Usman-hit regions but did not elaborate.
A total of 12 people were reported injured, according to the NDRRMC report released at 6 a.m. on Tuesday.
The casualties were reported in the regions of Bicol, Mimaropa and Eastern Visayas.
A number of 45,348 families living in Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol and Eastern Visayas were affected by Usman, which was downgraded to a low-pressure area on Sunday and was already out of the Philippine Area of Responsibility.
A total of 6,637 families or 2,894 people welcomed 2019 in evacuation centers.
In Bicol and Eastern Visayas, 206 areas were flooded because of torrential rains, 107 of which have since subsided.
A total of 69 houses in Quezon, Marinduque, Oriental Mindoro and Northern Samar were damaged.
Because of widespread flooding and displacement of families, the provinces of Albay and Sorsogon have been placed under a state of calamity.
Agri damage nearly P300M
Heavy rains and flooding in affected regions have resulted in P299.44 million worth of agricultural damage, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.
According to the DA’s Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Operation Center, overall damage and losses were reported in the provinces of Quezon, Oriental Mindoro, Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Masbate and Samar.
Damage to rice crops alone amounted to P266.98 million, with a volume production loss of 7,496 metric tons (MT). Damage to corn remained at P976,267 with production losses of 11 MT.
A total of 12,858 hectares (ha.) of agricultural areas were devastated, affecting 9,622 farmers.
The areas affected covered 563 ha. and 276 corn farmers in Albay, Camarines Sur and Masbate provinces.
For high-value crops, damage and losses were pegged at P31.48 million. These were fruit trees, assorted vegetables and root crops.
Total volume production loss was at 2,098 MT on 441 ha., affecting 1,333 farmers in the provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur, Masbate and Sorsogon.
Japan, Taiwan, EU offer condolences
Japan, Taiwan and the European Union (EU) on Tuesday sent condolences to the Philippines and the bereaved families of those who perished in the onslaught of Usman that brought heavy rainfall and triggered landslides in the Mimaropa, Bicol and Central Visayas regions days before New Year’s celebration.
In a statement sent to the media, Japanese Ambassador Koji Haneda and EU Ambassador Franz Jessen offered “sincerest condolences” and prayers to the kin of those killed due to the storm.
“As a country tackling natural disasters,” Haneda said. “Japan stands in solidarity with the Filipino people.”
Japan also sent condolences to the families of the victims of the bombing incident in Cotabato City on December 31.
Taiwan offered assistance to the Philippine government in tending to the people affected by the weather disturbance.
“To help affected people overcome the adversities and promptly restore their lives back to normal, Taiwan is willing to cooperate with the Philippines by providing necessities and assistances specifically required by the affected people.
WITH EIREENE JAIREE GOMEZ AND PNA