Tsunami threatens 14m people as Rolly’s toll worsens; 20 dead

The damage to agriculture and infrastructure caused by Super Typhoon “Rolly” climbed to more than P11 billion, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Thursday.

POWER TO THE PEOPLE. Residents of Legazpi, Albay flock to a gasoline station to purchase fuel for their generator sets. Efforts to restore normal supply of power in the province are ongoing, officials said. Norman Cruz
Of this total, P8.47 billion was damage done to infrastructure in the Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and Metro Manila.

Damage to agriculture in Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, and Eastern Visayas, on the other hand, came to P2.94 billion, as the typhoon ripped through 44,712 hectares of farm land.

Rolly also destroyed 14,064 houses and damaged 29,969 others.

The death toll remained at 20, with 165 injured and three missing in Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and Bicol.

As this developed, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology warned tsunamis could threaten about 14 million Filipinos nationwide, including those residing in Metro Manila.

“The total population exposed to tsunami would be close to 14 million but they will not be affected at the same time. It would depend on where the tsunami would occur,” Phivolcs director Renato Solidum Jr. said Thursday.

Citing Phivolcs’ hazard assessment and simulation, Solidum the vulnerable population in Metro Manila would be around 2.4 million.

Tsunami occurrence could threaten 1.6 million residents in Region VII, 1.2 million in Region VI and 1 million in Region IV-A.

“Tsunamis in the Philippines could move very fast simply since the trenches are closer to our shoreline. Because of such restrictions, we need to be sure that people are ready so that if ever there are signs of a possible tsunami, they need to react right away,” the Phivolcs director added.

NDRRMC officials and regional DRRMCs met Wednesday to discuss ongoing preparations for severe Tropical Storm Siony even as the government continued its relief response for Rolly victims.

These include preemptive evacuation in areas highly susceptible to storm surges, floods and landslides; the dissemination of warnings to areas to be affected; and the positioning of food and non-food items and medicine in various strategic locations.

Medical teams from different Department of Health hospitals were also activated for possible deployment.

The Cordillera RDRRMC also reported preemptive evacuation in flood- and landslide-prone areas in Apayao, Kalinga, and Benguet.

Transport assets such as Army trucks are on standby for possible augmentation to disaster operations as well as the Department Of Public Works and Highways assets for clearing operations.

The National Electrification Administration (NEA), meanwhile, reported that the initial cost of damage to power facilities rose to P179.15 million.

NEA said electric cooperatives in Catanduanes and Camarines Sur suffered the most damage at 173.755 million combined.

NEA also said that power has been restored to 52.27 percent, or 1.09 million households of the 2.09 million affected consumers in the Bicol region and parts of Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and Eastern Visayas covered by 20 cooperatives.

About 998,375 households remain without power. Of these, 830,981 households are in Bicol provinces: Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay, and Sorsogon. Several transmission lines in Bicol are still unavailable.

In Masbate, the Masbate Electric Cooperative, Inc. has fully restored power to all its affected households; while the Ticao Island Electric Cooperative, Inc. has restored power to 86.57 percent, or 16,061 consumers.

Power in Calabarzon and Laguna was back to normal, while power in Batangas was 98.83 percent restored.

In Mimaropa, power has been restored to 98.92 percent of households.

Power in Eastern Visayas has also been restored.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said electric cooperatives may draw from a P250 million funds under the current budget to finance rehabilitation work on damaged power lines.

Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate energy committee, called on electric cooperatives to seek aid under Republic Act 11039, otherwise known as the Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund (ECERF), to hasten the restoration of power supply in typhoon-ravaged communities.

Power and communication lines are down in most parts of Catanduanes and Albay, two provinces badly affected by the onslaught of super typhoon Rolly. Reports say it may take at least two months to restore power in Albay since more than 70 percent of electric poles throughout the province were damaged.

The European Union on Thursday said it will provide €1.3 million or about P63 million worth of humanitarian aid to help the victims of super typhoon Rolly.

The EU said this would fund the delivery of emergency relief assistance to families affected by super typhoon Rolly.

“We stand by all those affected, and in particular express our sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives,” EU High Representative and Vice-President Josep Borrell said in a statement.

“As a demonstration of our solidarity with the Filipino people and the country’s authorities, the European Union is mobilizing immediate humanitarian assistance. At this difficult time, which is complicated further by the coronavirus pandemic, the European Union can be counted on as a friend and partner,” Borrell said.

AID TO VIRAC. Relief goods are unloaded from BRP Malapascua docked at the Legazpi Port to be transported to Virac, Catanduanes, one of the areas hardest-hit by typhoon “Rolly”. The goods include medicines, face masks, kitchen utensils and purified drinking water. #Coastguard PH
The House of Representatives led by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has launched a fund drive to aid communities affected by two successive strong typhoons in less than a week.

Velasco said donations are voluntary and lawmakers are welcome to contribute any amount to the fund that will help in the rescue, recovery and rehabilitation efforts in areas ravaged by typhoons Quinta and Rolly.

Several lawmakers made the first contribution, pledging their full salary for the month of November to help victims of the two consecutive typhoons, which battered many areas in Luzon and the Visayas.

Since Monday when the fund drive started, the House has already raised almost P7 million in cash donations from its members, according to the House Secretariat.

This developed as Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte appealed to Congress to consider setting aside a far bigger amount in calamity funds in the proposed 2021 General Appropriations Act (GAA), with a significant part earmarked for relief and rehabilitation work in Bicol and other areas devastated by Rolly.

The former governor said that local governments hardhit by the super typhoon are most likely in need of calamity funds this early as their allocations have probably been depleted already because of the COVID-19-related initiatives in their respective localities.

Villafuerte said that CamSur, for instance, “needs all the aid and other resources it can get from both the government and the private sector as it is reeling from the triple whammy of super typhoons Rolly and Quinta, which struck the province in the previous weekend, and the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Also on Thursday, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General Jim Sydiongco urged local airline operators to coordinate with the agency for their guidance about airports not accepting flights as a result of damage caused by Rolly.

In Bicol, communication lines at airports operated by CAAP in the region have been restored.

Cynthia Tumanut, manager of CAAP Area Center 5 (Bicol), reported that airports in the region are now slowly recovering from the typhoon’s aftermath with clearing operations starting immediately after the typhoon left the Philippine area of responsibility.

Damage to Catanduanes province’s Virac Airport was mostly in its passenger terminal building.

Topics: Super Typhoon “Rolly” , National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council , Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology , Lord Allan Velasco , Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund
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