PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III declared a state of national calamity Friday due to the destruction brought about by Typhoon “Nona,” which left at least 17 people dead and caused more than P900 million in damage to crops and infrastructure.
“President Aquino has signed Proclamation No. 1186 declaring a State of National Calamity in the aftermath of Typhoon Nona (international code name: Melor), which left a trail of destruction, substantial damage and deaths in several areas in the country including the provinces of Albay, Northern Samar, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon and Sorsogon,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.
“The declaration of the state of national calamity is meant among others to… hasten the rescue, recovery, relief and rehabilitation efforts of the government and private sector and effectively control the prices of basic goods and commodities for the affected areas… and to continue to provide basic services to residents of affected communities,” Coloma said.
The death toll from Nona rose to 17 Friday morning, but disaster officials said the count would most likely go up because the areas hardest hit by the typhoon were cut off and had not yet been able to report.
Three provinces—Northern Samar, Nueva Ecija and Sorsongon, were without power as of Thursday due to damage wrought by Nona.
The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines said Friday it restored power in the provinces of Aurora and Nueva Ecija.
The executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Alexander Pama, said 76,796 families or 222,438 people in six cities, 137 municipalities in 19 provinces had taken shelter in 469 evacuation centers.
Pama said the Department of Social Welfare and Development and local government units have been able to raise P44.95 million worth of relief assistance for the victims.
A total of 132,122 houses were destroyed or damaged in four regions. Damage to infrastructure and agriculture was pegged at P935.19 million, Pama added.
Oriental Mindoro, Sorsogon, Albay, and Northern Samar were declared in state of calamity due to the damage the provinces sustained.
The NDRRMC on Friday warned people in Mindanao and the Visayas to brace themselves against the oncoming Tropical Depression “Onyok,” as it threatened to dump heavy to intense rain within its 100-kilometer radius.
The state weather bureau said the whole of Luzon can expect continuous rain due to the convergence of the northeast monsoon and the easterlies.
Onyok was expected to make landfall in Davao Oriental Friday night before weakening into a low pressure area, the weather bureau said.
Weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio said Onyok, which was 210 kilometers east of Mati City, Davao Oriental as of 4 p.m. Friday, had weakened slightly.
Aurelio said that public storm warning signal No. 1 (30-60 kph winds expected in 36 hours) remained hoisted over the provinces of Surigao del Sur, including Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte, Dinagat Province, Misamis Oriental, Camiguin, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Misamis Occidental, Davao del Sur, Maguindanao and North Cotabato.
Residents in low-lying and mountainous areas of the provinces with public storm warning signals are alerted against possible flash floods and landslides.
The estimated rainfall amount is from heavy to intense within the 150-km diameter of the tropical depression.
As the toll from Nona rose, the Palace said all the concerned agencies had made the necessary preparations ahead of the storm.
“The government had done everything that was needed in order to prepare the public against dangers from typhoon Nona,” Coloma said.
“The DPWH [Department of Public Works and Highways] and the DSWD [Department of Social Welfare and Development] are coordinating with the local government units [LGUs] in order to give help to all residents who needed their homes to be fixed,” said Coloma.
“The government is also extending help to all families whose family members died during the calamity,” the Palace spokesman said.
“The government is also immediately doing its post-disaster needs assessment once it has extended all the help given to the victims and families affected by the calamity,” Coloma said.
Coloma also said all the government agencies concerned are now focusing on preparations for Onyok.
“All government agencies concerned are now coordinating with each other on its preparations in all areas that may be affected by the calamity,” said Coloma. – With PNA
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