Seniang leaves at least 54 dead

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Seniang leaves at least 54 dead
(UPDATED) The NDRRMC says as far as the national government is concerned, it did what needed to be done in preparing for Tropical Storm Seniang

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The death toll from Tropical Storm Seniang (international name: Jangmi) has risen to 54 as of 4 am Thursday, January 1, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said. 

A total of 40 individuals were injured while at least 7 people remained missing, the NDRRMC said. 

Seniang, which has been downgraded to a low pressure area, damaged at least 1,533 houses, with 1,168 partially damaged and 365 completely destroyed. 

The storm caused at least P4.9 million worth of damages to agriculture in Agusan del Sur, Misamis Oriental and Compostela Valley. 

As of 4 am, 38 roads and 20 bridges remained impassable in Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao and Caraga. 

In a press briefing Wednesday noon, Undersecretary Alexander Pama maintained that the national government, in coordination with local governments, had “done all that needed to be done” in preparation for the storm.

NDRMMC figures show 5,167 families were pre-emptively evacuated to 83 evacuation centers in Southern Tagalog, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region and Caraga. 

As of 4 am Thursday, power interruptions were still recorded in Negros Occidental, Bohol, Leyte, Samar, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Norte.

NDRRMC says that power has been restored in the province of Negros Oriental.

Meanwhile, 7 villages in Bohol are said to be experiencing water interruption after being besieged by “unprecedented” flooding.

‘No shortcomings’

Asked whether the government had shortcomings in preparing for Seniang, which is being compared to Typhoon Ruby in terms of casualties, Pama said in an interview on ANC after the briefing, “None.”

He added: “In the past few days and hours, we have been doing an accounting of the things that needed to be done and evidently, in our checklist…the things that needed to be done had been done. We are referring to the pre-disaster assessment.”

He said that the weather forecasting “proved to be accurate” while local governments made the necessary preparations.

Pama also sought to differentiate Seniang from Ruby, saying they had “different characteristics.”

He said the better comparison would be with Tropical Storm Sendong (international name: Washi) which hit Mindanao in late 2011, as both weather disturbances  were slow moving and did not bring strong winds but dumped “a rich volume of water.”

Pama also said that relief operations are continuing in Bohol particularly in the hardest-hit town of Loboc, while rescue and retrieval operations are ongoing in Catbalogan, Samar, among others.

Bohol is among the  areas that have been placed under a state of calamity–

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