‘Agaton’ death toll rises to 167; agri, infra damage now at P710M

THE death toll due to Tropical Storm Agaton (Megi) rose to 167, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported on Saturday, April 16, 2022.

In its 8 a.m. situational report, the NDRRMC said 12 deaths have been confirmed, while 155 have yet to be verified.

Of the 167 deaths, 151 were from Eastern Visayas, 11 from Western Visayas, three from Davao Region and two from Central Visayas.

The report also showed that 110 individuals were still missing, and eight were injured. Only six missing persons and six injuries were confirmed.

The agency said only 12 out of the 76 cities and municipalities that experienced power interruption or outage have had their power supply restored. Three cities and municipalities continued to experience water supply outage.

As of 8 a.m. Saturday, a total of 8,437 passengers, 2,473 rolling cargoes, 14 vessels and one motorbanca were stranded in Bicol, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas and Caraga.

The NDRRMC said the estimated damage to infrastructure reached P6,950,000.

The Department of Agriculture, on the other hand, reported on Friday a total of P703.3 million worth of damage to agriculture, where 11,666 farmers, 17,530 hectares of agricultural land and 40,850 metric tons of crops were affected.

The calamity struck four months after parts of Visayas and Mindanao were affected by Typhoon Odette (Rai), which claimed the lives of 405 individuals. The NDRRMC also reported 52 missing persons and 1,371 injuries after Odette struck on December 16, 2021.

Food, shelter assistance

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday promised victims affected by “Agaton” that they will be provided with emergency food and shelter.

Duterte visited Baybay City, Leyte, one of the areas badly hit by “Agaton,” to check the damage and assure residents that help will reach them.

“This is what I came here for, to tell you that you were not forgotten. I repeat, food is not a problem. Until the last moment you need it, if you want, you don’t need to buy your own rice. And you will have a house again... just approach the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development),” Duterte said in Bisaya.

He assured that he will help make this possible during the remainder of his term.

I can only do so much in the last two months as your President. What I can do is I will help make sure that preparations will be in place to help give you new houses,” he added.

In Cebu, at least 602 individuals living in two towns in the Camotes Islands were not allowed to return to their homes yet due to minor landslides that continue to occur as a result of heavy rains brought about by Agaton.

Lt. Jose Ruel Nalzaro, chief of the Poro Police Station, said 110 families and 384 individuals remain at the evacuation centers as of Saturday, April 16, 2022.

In Tudela, around 47 families and 218 individuals, mostly residents of Sitio Upper, Barangay General, had been evacuated at the Tudela Civic Service Center in Barangay Southern Poblacion due to minor landslides.

After the storm had passed, officials of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and the Office of Civil Defense assessed the affected landslide-prone barangays in Tudela and Poro.

The MGB reported that a 60.7-hectare area in the two barangays are currently not stable.

Meanwhile, the Vatican has expressed its solidarity with the victims of “Agaton” in the Philippines.

In a letter sent by Papal Nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown to Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Bishop Pablo David, Pope Francis has offered his prayers for the victims.

“Having been informed of the recent loss of life and destruction caused by Tropical Depression Megi, His Holiness Pope Francis wishes to express his solidarity with all those suffering in the wake of the storm,” said Brown.

“He also offers the assurance of prayers for the dead, injured, and displaced, as well as those engaged in recovery efforts,” he added. (JGS / GDC, JKV / HDT/SunStar Philippines)