MANILA, Philippines – As far as the government is concerned, there are no casualties so far from the onslaught of Typhoon Luis (Kalmaegi) over the weekend.
Authorities said on Monday, September 15, that they were looking at “zero casualty” after excluding the fatalities in the ferry sinking in the Visayas because the incident was only an “indirect” impact of the typhoon.
Typhoon Luis left the Philippine area of responsibility Monday noon.
“Right now we are continuously monitoring [the situation]. I can say that the preparation of agencies is good. It is looking like, as of this hour, we do not have casualty,” said Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin at a media briefing.
The national disaster management chief also said it is “debatable” to attribute to the typhoon the deaths from the sinking of M/V Maharlika 2 Saturday evening, September 13, off the coast of Southern Leyte. The death toll from the ferry sinking would rise to 6 on Monday.
“Maharlika is a little bit debatable if it’s a result of the Luis. There are other ships plying the same route, which were okay,” said National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director Alexander Pama.
Pama, a former chief of the Philippine Navy, said the cause of the sinking may be the derangement of the ship and not the typhoon.
“I hope we will not be strict on saying on meron or walang casualty. I think the bottom line is: On the system, it looks like the coordination between the national and local is improving. It’s a bonus that so far we haven’t attributed casualties as a direct result of Typhoon Luis. So far,” he said.
Assessment teams deployed
He said teams have been deployed to assess the damage suffered by the agriculture sector of Region II (Cagayan Valley), the area worst hit by the typhoon.
The latest NDRRMC report showed that up to 7,801 persons or 1,723 families were displaced by the typhoon that put 11 areas, mostly in northern Luzon, under public storm signal number 3.
Several incidents of flash flood, overflowed spillway, landslide, and cases of collapsed structures were reported. At least 43 flights were cancelled and about 700 boat passenger were stranded.
A total of 11 roads and 3 bridges were reported not passable due to the landslides and flash floods.
Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II said: “The important thing here is, as of this morning, there are no casualties. We didn’t lose communication. We did not receive reports on casualties.”
Another maritime incident
On Sunday, September 14, another maritime incident, this time involving M/V Super Shuttle RoRo 7, was reported by the Philippine Coast Guard. It tilted on its side and half-submerged off Manila Bay.
Up to 15 crew members abandoned the cargo vessel at 7 pm on Sunday. They were rescued or were able to swim to safety. Seven crew members boarded a life raft and were rescued near the United States Embassy in Manila. One was rescued by M/Tug Energy Star.
Another 7 crew members, who held on to floating debris, were able to swim toward the Quirino Grandstand.
Two of the crew members were cleared of any physical injuries and allowed to go home. The others were brought to the PCG Medical Service to undergo treatment for various injuries. – Rappler.com
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