MANILA, Philippines – The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) raised to 75 as of Tuesday, January 1, the number of fatalities of Tropical Depression Usman though said it was still validating the deaths reported.
NDRRMC Spokesperson Edgar Posadas said majority of the casualties were from the Bicol region where continuous rains triggered landslides.
"The numbers when it comes to the reported deaths, these are still for verification and confirmation and therefore they are still unofficial as we are starting to get reports from the different regions," he said in an interview with ANC.
He added there were also 16 people reported missing as of Tuesday.
Data from the NDRRMC showed the reported deaths come from Bicol region at 59, Eastern Visayas at 13, and 3 from other regions.
As search and rescue operations continued, officials retrieved more bodies from areas in Albay and Camarines Sur, which were hit badly by landslides.
The number of affected individuals also increased as there were 45,438 families or 191,597 persons affected as of Tuesday. The residents come from 457 barangays in Bicol region, Eastern Visayan, Calabarzon, and Mimaropa.
Posadas said the NDRRMC recorded a total of 69 houses damaged so far.
According to data from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Usman, which later became a low pressure area, dumped large volumes of rainfall in parts of Luzon and the Visayas in just two days. (READ: How much rain did Tropical Depression Usman bring?)
Daet, Camarines Norte; Legazpi City, Albay; and Catarman, Northern Samar, had the most rain from Friday, December 28, to Saturday, December 29.
Heavy rains prompted local officials to declare a state of calamity in Camarines Sur, Albay, and Sorsogon.
Usman left the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Sunday, December 30. – with reports from Sofia Tomacruz/Rappler.com