Typhoon death toll rises to 28, agri damage over P600M

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THE DEATH toll from typhoon Ursula (international name: Phanfone) has risen to 28 as authorities continue to take stock of the devastation in central areas of the Philippines.

On agricultural damage, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has placed the initial estimate at P633.7 million in terms of production loss and ruined facilities.

The highest number of deaths was in Iloilo province with 13, followed by Capiz with four, three in Eastern Samar, two each in Aklan and Leyte, and one each in Cebu, Southern Leyte, Biliran and Samar, according to the report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) as of Friday morning.

The DA, in a bulletin on Friday, said initial assessment show “production loss of about 969 metric tons (MT), affecting 4,100 hectares and 44,061 farmers and fisherfolk.”

Fisheries bore the biggest brunt with damages reaching P587.41 million, affecting 43,813 fisherfolk.

The other affected commodities include rice and corn.

“The Agricultural Credit and Policy Council (ACPC) has an available fund of Php60 million for emergency loan under the Survival Recovery (SURE) Program for assistance to typhoon-affected farmers. In addition, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) has available funds to pay for the losses to be incurred and will fast track processing of crop insurance of farmers that will be affected by the typhoon,” DA said.

In Capiz, one of the hardest hit province, several barangay roads were still not passable to light vehicles as of Friday morning due to flooding.

Several towns and provinces have already been placed under a state of calamity, including Capiz, Aklan, Leyte, Tacloban City, and Medellin and Daan-Bantayan in Cebu.

Meanwhile, on Thursday night, a magnitude 4.8 earthquake jolted the typhoon-stricken Panay island and nearby provinces.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) recorded the tremor six kilometers northeast of San Enrique, Iloilo at around 8:19 p.m.

Capiz Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Judy Grace C. Pelaez said the earthquake prompted people staying in evacuation centers to step out.

“People were scared, especially with the recent typhoon and there were tsunami scares, especially in the coastal communities. But our (municipal) DRRMO officers were able to educate them and calm them down,” she said in a phone interview on Friday.

Various areas were still without power supply on Friday as poles and other facilities were toppled by the typhoon, but electric cooperatives (ECs) have started restoring power distribution services, according to the National Electrification Administration (NEA).

In a statement, NEA said 29 ECs were affected, covering 16 provinces in the three Visayas regions and MIMAROPA (Mindoro-Marinduque-Romblon-Palawan). — Genshen L. Espedido, Vincent Mariel P. Galang, and Emme Rose S. Santiagudo