Over 240,000 families across four regions, or nearly a million Filipinos, were forced to flee flash floods and landslides as Typhoon “Quinta” blitzed the country while crossing into the West Philippine Sea on Monday, disaster officials said.
More than 217,000 families, or 859,169 individuals, were affected by Quinta in the Bicol Region, with over 120,000 families displaced in Albay province alone, where the typhoon made two landfalls, according to the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Region V.
This is apart from 22,579 families, or around 90,000 individuals, dislocated by widespread flooding in two coastal towns of Pampanga due to continuous rains brought about by Quinta and typhoon “Pepito,” provincial disaster officials said in their latest update.
Calabarzon's civil defense office recorded 2,369 families or 9,352 persons who were evacuated in the region just south of Metro Manila.
In Marinduque, which is part of the Mimaropa region, Governor Presbitero Velasco said 1,882 families or 6,098 persons who lived near the shores of the province were displaced, as Quinta made its fourth landfall in Torrijos town.
Two persons were also reported dead and over a dozen others – fishermen in Catanduanes province -- were reported missing, the OCD said.
Damage to agricultural high-value crops due to Pepito and Quinta is expected to increase from the P1.5 million stated in an earlier report.
Earlier in the day, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that 2,823 families in the Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, and Cordillera Administrative regions – representing 22 provinces total -- have so far been affected by Quinta.
Quinta, which made five total landfalls across the country but maintained typhoon strength, downed electrical posts and inundated parts of southern Luzon, forcing thousands of families to observe physical distancing as they fled its wrath during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, NDRRMC executive director Ricardo Jalad said 1,493 families are now staying in 68 evacuation centers while 968 families are being aided outside, it added. The agency has yet to receive any reports on deaths connected to the typhoon.
The Palace on Monday vowed that the government would assist families affected by the typhoon, which it said wrought havoc on several provinces, forcing many to flee their homes.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the Social Welfare department has prepared about P890 million in food packs and standby funds for this year's 17th storm.
The Palace official also assured affected farmers of grants and loans to be provided by the Department of Agriculture (see related story – Editors).
Flood water swelled to as high as three to five feet in some areas due to high tide and the volume of floodwater from the Pampanga River upstream, said Angelina Blanco, officer of the Pampanga Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO).
Blanco said a total of 50 villages, mostly in the province’s fourth district, remained flooded since the first day of typhoon Pepito. She said the situation was aggravated with moderate to heavy rains brought about by typhoon Quinta.
Masantol town, being situated near the mouth of the Manila Bay area, is the most affected among the coastal municipalities of Pampanga with 26 villages submerged in varying degrees.
Other Pampanga towns experiencing widespread flooding are Macabebe, Candaba, Apalit, and San Simon, all from the province’s fourth district.
Several road networks and bridges have been rendered impassable to all types of vehicles due to soil erosion and other damage to infrastructure.
Blanco said PDRRMO is closely monitoring the flooded areas as rescue personnel and medical teams have been placed on standby alert and are ready to be deployed in areas where floodwaters continue to swell.
“Those who were hit by the storm, don't worry, help will come. And the President's number one concern is really the safety and well-being of those affected. Hang in there, help is coming” Roque said in a radio interview.
Quinta made its fifth landfall over Pola, Oriental Mindoro on Monday morning and was headed towards the West Philippine Sea.
Some 5,518 people were evacuated to safer ground, while 3,421 people took shelter with their relatives in areas outside danger zones, the disaster monitoring agency said.
Quinta follows tropical storm Pepito (international name: Saudel), which last week caused widespread flooding in Quezon province in the Calabarzon region, southeast of Manila.
Quinta is expected to leave the Philippine area of responsibility Tuesday morning.
As of 4 p.m. Monday, the eye of the typhoon was 310 kilometers west of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro.
Packing maximum sustained winds of 130 kms/h near the center and gustiness of up to 160 kms/h, it was moving westward at 25 kms/h.
Tropical cyclone wind signal no. 1 was in effect over Batangas, Occidental Mindoro, including Lubang Island, Oriental Mindoro, Calamian Islands, and the extreme northern portion of Antique.
Meanwhile, a low-pressure area was estimated at 1,945 kms east of Southern Luzon.
“This LPA may enter the PAR on Wednesday or Thursday morning but is less likely to develop into tropical depression in the next 48 hours,” the weather bureau said.
However, the Bicol Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has reported that 12 fishermen are missing. They are residents of Barangay Pananogan, Bato town; Barangay Cagdarao, Panganiban town; and Barangay Poblacion District III, Gigmoto town; all in Catanduanes.
Rescue operations are now being conducted by the Philippine Coast Guard.
Also, the NDRRMC said 11 flooding incidents were reported in the provinces of Laguna, Camarines Sur, Negros Occidental, Samar, and Apayao while seven landslides were reported in Laguna, Aklan, Samar, and Apayao.
Quinta also damaged the Caraycaray Detour Bridge in Naval, Biliran.
The NDRRMC said the Department of Public Works and Highways personnel in the area have installed warning signs and assessing the condition of the bridge.
Quinta has also affected 33 roads in Cagayan, Laguna, Rizal, Camarines Sur, Masbate, Catanduanes, and Apayao.
The NDRRMC and Regional DRRM councils are closely monitoring the situation in the affected areas.
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