One person died and three others were missing in Mindanao after being hit by a landslide, police said Thursday as the nationwide death toll from recent rains climbed to 39.
At least 25 persons remained missing, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.
The council said 21 deaths were reported in Region 10; six in Region 5; four each in Regions 9 and 11; three in Region 8; and one in Caraga.
The agency said 11 of the deaths have been confirmed, while 28 others are still up for validation.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. vowed to survey the flood-hit areas himself as he warned Filipinos of the continued rains and directed government agencies to speed up aid to those affected.
Asked if he would conduct aerial surveys as he did after previous storms this year, the President said: “Probably, to see what happened. Unfortunately, tuloy-tuloy pa rin ‘yung ulan eh (the rain continues to fall).”
Authorities were still searching for more than two dozen other people missing after heavy downpours over the Christmas weekend caused flooding and landslides across Visayas and Mindanao.
In Tacloban City, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Eduardo Punay led on Thursday the distribution of assistance to families affected by heavy rains and floods due to the shear line during the holidays.
The latest death happened Wednesday in Mati City, Davao Oriental, when a landslide buried four people as they fished, police said.
The body of a 62-year-old man was recovered and the search for his companions was still under way, Mati City police chief Ernesto Gregore told Agence-France Presse. “There was a heavy downpour in the mountains. They were fishing in a river when the landslide occurred,” Gregore said.
The weather turned bad over the weekend as the disaster-prone nation of 110 million people prepared for a long Christmas holiday.
Hundreds of houses have since been destroyed and more than 5,000 hectares (12,400 acres) of crops wiped out by rains that have forced tens of thousands of people into evacuation centers, the national disaster agency said.
The Philippines is ranked among the most vulnerable nations to the impacts of climate change, and scientists have warned that storms are
becoming more powerful as the world gets warmer. Punay supervised the giving of financial help, under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program, and family food packs (FFPs) worth P2.6 million to about 1,030 families in the town of Llorente, Eastern Samar.
Each family received P2,000 cash assistance and a box of FFP. Accompanied by Assistant Secretary for Visayas Affairs Ma. Evelyn Macapobre and key officials from DSWD regional office, Punay visited the province to check the plight of affected families.
He also paid a courtesy visit to Llorente, Eastern Samar Mayor Daniel Boco to discuss the status of their disaster response operations since the town is one of the areas badly hit by floods. Meanwhile, the DSWD continues its provision of augmentation assistance to local government units in Bicol Region, Visayas, and Mindanao to ensure that displaced families will have enough relief aid.
On Dec. 28, DSWD officials from the main office visited Gingoog City Mayor Erick Cañosa for the distribution of financial assistance and relief items to over 1,000 families in the city.
On Thursday, the DSWD in Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) also delivered 3,000 FFPs to the provincial government of Misamis Occidental for distribution to the affected families and individuals. Quick response teams of DSWD in the region are also assisting concerned local governments in the validation and assessment of their affected constituents.
The DSWD field office in Caraga facilitated the delivery of 1,786 FFPs and 2,999 FFPs to the local governments of Gigaquit and Bacuag in Surigao del Norte, respectively.
As of Dec. 28, the DSWD has augmented food and non-food items worth more than PHP16 million to local governments in Regions 5 (Bicol), 6
(Western Visayas), 8 (Eastern Visayas), 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula), 10 (Northern Mindanao), 11 (Davao Region) and Caraga.
Based on the latest data, a total of 22,292 displaced families or 91,874 persons are staying in 328 evacuation centers in five affected regions while 19,449 families or 86,690 individuals are temporarily staying with their relatives or friends.
The DSWD assured the public that it will continue to provide the necessary assistance to disaster-hit families even during the New Year celebration.