Death toll from Tropical Depression Usman rises to 126
MANILA, Philippines – The number of persons killed due to Tropical Depression Usman rose to 126, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported on Saturday, January 5.
In its latest situation report, the NDRRMC said the casualties came from the regions of Mimaropa, Bicol, and Eastern Visayas.
Of the dead, only 8 have been confirmed – 7 in Sorsogon and one in Oriental Mindoro – while the remaining deaths are still subject for verification.
At least 60 persons were injured, while 26 remained missing, the NDRRMC added.
"In two days alone, Usman poured more than a month's worth of rainfall in the Bicol region," national disaster agency spokesman Edgar Posadas told AFP.
"Our search and retrieval operations are ongoing but the sticky mud and the unstable soil are a challenge," he added.
A total of 140,105 families or 624,236 persons were affected by Usman in the Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, and Eastern Visayas regions. Of this number, 13,135 families or 57,786 persons are staying in 119 evacuation centers.
The NDRRMC said another 22,633 families or 107,540 persons are staying outside evacuation centers, with relatives and friends. (READ: P12.5 million in aid given to victims of Tropical Depression Usman in Bicol)
Usman caused an estimated P2.07 billion ($39.43 million)* worth of damage to infrastructure in the Bicol Region, and P758.65 million ($14.45 million) worth of damage to agriculture in the Bicol and Eastern Visayas regions, the NDRRMC said. (READ: How Tropical Depression Usman affected schools)
A total of 6,005 houses were damaged by Usman. Of this number, 1,081 were totally damaged, while 4,924 were partially damaged.
Red Cross: Usman-affected areas need help
In a statement on Saturday, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) said families affected by Usman need financial and in-kind support.
According to the PRC's action team, the items immediately needed in Usman-hit areas are cash assistance, safe water, non-food items, and basic household items. (READ: #ReliefPH: Help victims of Tropical Depression Usman)
PRC chairman and Senator Richard Gordon said there was "miscalculation" on the damage Tropical Depression Usman brought.
"Usman was not as strong, but it brought a lot of rains. It is important that we become a little bit more aggressive and make sure that we respect any kind of tropical depression," Gordon said in a statement.
He said the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are supporting PRC's response operations. – with a report from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com
*$1 = P52.50