#GlendaPH: Initial agri, infra damage at P1.2B
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Authorities pegged infrastructure and agriculture damage from Typhoon Glenda (Rammasun) at an initial P1.18 million ($27.21 million)* – based on preliminary reports – while the death toll climbed to 40 as the typhoon made its way out of the Philippine area of responsibility.
In a press briefing on Thursday, July 17, Undersecretary Alexander Pama, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director, said more reports from regions affected by the typhoon came in overnight, showing a clearer picture of Glenda’s damage.
Most of the deaths, according to a Thursday, 4pm NDRRMC report, were caused by fallen trees and flying debris. Typhoon Glenda packed maximum sustained winds of up to 140 kilometers per hour (km/h) and gusts of up to 170 km/h.
Region 4-A or the Calabarzon region reported the most deaths. Four people were reported missing while 17 were injured as a result of Typhoon Glenda.
As of the NDRRMC’s latest tally at 4 pm, Thursday, July 17, almost 900,000 Filipinos in the National Capital Region, the Ilocos, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Bicol, and Eastern Visayas regions were affected by the typhoon. An earlier 6 am report said over 1 million Filipinos were affected.
Half a million people were brought to over 1,200 evacuation centers throughout the affected regions.
At least 5 provinces and one city have since been declared under a state of calamity – Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Cavite, Quezon, and the city of Muntinlupa in the National Capital Region.
Initial damage reports provide a glimpse of Glenda’s impact on the economy.
Agriculture in the Central Luzon, MIMAROPA, and Bicol regions took a beating, with an estimated P1.14 billion ($26 million) in damages to rice, corn, high value cash crops, and livestock.
Bataan’s 1st Engineering District Office, Nueva Ecija’s 2nd Engineering District Office, and the Philippine Air Force's Villamor Airbase reported an initial P49 million ($1.13 million) in damage to infrastructure.
The NDRRMC said more than 26,000 houses in 6 regions affected by Glenda were either totally or partially damaged. In the Bicol region alone more than 20,000 houses were damaged.
More reports are expected from affected areas, but there is difficulty in transmitting information because of affected telecommunication lines.
Power still out in Bicol
Meanwhile, thousands are still without power in many regions almost a day after Glenda made landfall. The NDRRMC reported that transmission lines in the Bicol region – comprised of Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, Sorsogon and Masbate – were still down.
Provinces and cities in the Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and Eastern Visayas regions were still experiencing power interruptions that began Tuesday, July 15.
Citing a report from the Manila Electric Company (Meralco), the Department of Energy said that power has been restored in 84% of Metro Manila. Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said that power would be fully restored in the area by late Friday night, July 18.
The NDRRMC said power generation facilities in the Southern Luzon area were not damaged, but teams in Bicol and Calabarzon are still assessing possible damage to power facilities.
Preps for the next storm
Even as Glenda heads out of the Philippines, the NDRRMC is gearing up for another possible major weather disturbance – a low pressure area spotted near Mindanao.
“Tomorrow, the PDRA (Pre-Disaster Risk Assessment) core will meet. Meron na kaming (We had an) initial discussion. Samantalang mino-monitor namin si Glenda, kitang-kita namin kung paano namuo itong isa (While we were monitoring Glenda, we clearly saw how the other potential weather disturbance formed), said Pama.
He added it’s the NDRRMC and the PDRA’s policy to immediately convene once state weather bureau PAGASA monitors a potential weather disturbance.
Pama, who was appointed NDRMMC executive director only in May, said in an interview with ANC that he has put more emphasis on PDRA or planning and preparations before disaster strikes.
The assessment is conducted by a core group composed of focal persons from the Department of Science and Technology, Department of the Interior and Local Governments, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the National Economic and Development Authority.
He said DOST is in charge of prognosis and prediction, DILG on preparedness, DSWD on relief operations, and NEDA on recovery and rehabilitation.
“We constantly discuss, coordinate what needs to be done before hazard comes in,” Pama said.
Improved LGU performance, public response
Pama also there has been a “marked improvement” in the disaster preparedness of local government units, and also the attitude of the public in heeding government advisories on disasters
“If we compare this to previous calamities, I would more or less say, the LGUs that had been affected right now, performed credibly well relative to the previous experiences we have,” he said.
Pama added, “We should also give credit to our countrymen who now took the warnings a lot more seriously then they used to inspite of the fact that some of our countrymen unfortunately are still quite intransigent when we try to convince them to move out of harm’s way.”
Responding to questions, Pama said while President Benigno Aquino III was not at the NDRRMC meeting on Wednesday night, he was well represented by his alteregos in the Cabinet, led by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr, who are members of the Council.
“I think that’s an indicator that the President is quite confident right now with the preparations we’re having, although he’s directly monitoring us, constantly giving instructions not only to NDRRMC but also to the line agencies,” he said. – Rappler.com
*$1 = P43.6