THE LAST typhoon to hit the country in 2018, locally named Usman, claimed 75 lives with 16 still reported missing and 12 injured, according to the Jan. 1 update from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). As of 6 a.m. yesterday, NDRRMC said Office of Civil Defense regional offices reported a total of 45,348 families composed of more than 191,000 individuals were affected in the regions of CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan), Bicol, and Eastern Visayas. Of these, 6,637 families were still in evacuation centers. Out of the 206 flooded areas in CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, and Eastern Visayas, water has subsided in 107. The Philippine Coast Guard also reported that as of Dec. 31, there were no more stranded passengers and vessels in any port. “All fishing and shipping companies have already resumed normal operations,” the NDRRMC report said. A state of calamity was declared in the provinces of Albay and Sorsogon, both located in the Bicol region.
The Department of Agriculture, meanwhile, reported P299.4 million worth of damage in the four affected regions. In an update as of 5 p.m. of Dec. 31, DA said an estimated 9,606 metric tons (MT) of farm products in 13,862 hectares were damaged, affecting 11,231 farmers. Rice loss was P266.98 million at 7,496 MT. Corn loss was reported at P976,267, with 11 MT. Fruit trees, assorted vegetables and root crops classified as high value crops worth about P31.48 million were also damaged. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio