TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines – Typhoon Lawin (Haima) wreaked havoc in Cagayan Valley, leaving thousands of residents homeless and destroying infrastructure across the region.
A total of 12,715 families have been affected so far in Cagayan, Isabela, and Quirino, according to the Cagayan Valley Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council during its first meeting Friday, October 21.
Of this number, 10,074 families are currently staying in 319 evacuation centers spread across the 3 provinces.
In Cagayan and Isabela combined, 841 residential houses have been totally damaged, with another 3,705 homes partially destroyed.
Officials in attendance during the meeting include National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, and Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba.
The meeting was also attended by representatives from the Department of Health, the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, and other local officials.
They have been forced to move their headquarters to the Valley Hotel in Tuguegarao City in Cagayan because Lawin ripped through the Office of Civil Defense Regional Office II. The typhoon broke windows, destroyed furniture, and blew debris into the building.
Lawin destroyed OCD Reg 2, breaking glass windows, blowing off furniture pic.twitter.com/JTI744MN8T — Mara Cepeda (@maracepeda) October 21, 2016
Typhoon Lawin hit the provinces facing the Pacific Ocean starting Wednesday evening, with sustained winds of 225 kilometers per hour (km/h) and gusts of up to 315 km/h. The typhoon weakened overnight as it passed through giant mountain ranges.
P5.2-billion agricultural damage in Cagayan
Cagayan Governor Mamba is planning to declare a state of calamity in his province, but he told reporters that some members of the provincial council have yet to sign the resolution as of Friday afternoon.
"Ngayon pa lang kung puwede [sana maka-declare na ng state of calamity]. Kung puwede ngang national government na lang ang mag-declare for us para I will not need the Sangguniang Panlalawigan anymore," Mamba said.
(Right now, I wish we could declare a state of calamity already. If it's possible it would be better for the national government to declare it for us so that I won't need the Provincial Council anymore.)
The governor was unable to give an overall damage assessment in his province during the interview. He said, however, that the local government is estimating up to P5.2 billion ($107.71 million)* worth of losses in agriculture.
Some fallen debris, trees in Tuguegark have not been cleared yet #LawinPH pic.twitter.com/Tp7IYpYqrd — Mara Cepeda (@maracepeda) October 21, 2016
Food, shelter, communication, and livelihood are also among the top concerns of his constituents in the aftermath of the typhoon.
"Sa akin, [ang pinaka-malaking problema ay] income ng tao for the next months, 'yung house nila mismo. Marami talagang nawalan ng bahay, totally nawalan ng bahay," said Mamba.
(For me, the biggest problem is the income of people for the next months, and even their houses. Many really lost their houses, totally lost their houses.)
He said his province's recovery would depend on the amount of aid they will be receiving in the coming weeks.
DRRM officials are spending the rest of Friday afternoon going around the region to determine the extent of Lawin's effects. Taguiwalo and DSWD officials decided to go around evacuation centers.
The other officials meanwhile are set to conduct an aerial assessment of Laoag City and Ilocos Norte aboard a C295 Philippine Air Force plane. They inspected Cagayan province aboard the aircraft earlier in the morning. – Rappler.com
*US$1 = P48.28