Typhoon Pablo death toll rises to 540

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

MANILA (Updated) -- The official death toll from Typhoon “Pablo” (international codename: Bopha) has increased to 540 people, with the deaths mostly recorded in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, said authorities Sunday.

Citing consolidated report as of 5 a.m. Sunday, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director and concurrent Office of Civil Defense administrator Benito Ramos also said they have accounted more missing people. The number now stands at 827 persons.

He said a total of 1,088 people were also injured from the typhoon.

Ramos also said the number of affected population is now pegged at 1.09 million families or 5.40 million persons. Of the number, he said 77,192 families or 368,672 persons are housed in 173 evacuation centers.

Damage to agriculture, infrastructure and private properties is now P6.08 billion.

In a statement, the US Department of National Defense said it is extending assistance to the Philippines in relief operations for the victims.

“At the request of the government of Philippines, Secretary Panetta has directed US Pacific Command to support US government humanitarian relief operations in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Bopha (Pablo),” the statement read.

“The initial focus includes transporting life saving supplies from Manila to communities isolated by infrastructure damage. In coordination with the US Agency for International Development and the US ambassador in Manila, the Department of Defense will continue to monitor the affects of Typhoon Bopha and stands ready to help our ally recover from the storm,” it added.

As of this posting Sunday, Pablo has further weakened into a tropical depression as it remained almost stationary west of Laoag City, Ilocos Norte.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said that as of 9 a.m. Sunday, Pablo was located at 80 kilometers west of Laoag City, packing 55 kilometers per hour of winds.

Weather observer Nelson Diamela said that Pablo did not make landfall but it weakened due to the northeast monsoon.

Diamela also said Pablo is expected to move on an east-northeast direction slowly and to dissipate within the next 12 hours.

Pagasa, however, has maintained public storm warning signal number 1 (30-60 kph winds) over Ilocos Norte, Babuyan group of island and Apayao. Storm signals earlier hoisted over other areas in Northern Luzon had been lowered.

Weathermen said Pablo may bring rainfall of 5 to 10 millimeters per hour (heavy to intense) within its 300-km diameter.

Pagasa advised owners of fishing boats and other sea vessels not to venture out into the seaboard of Northern and Central Luzon. (VR/PNA/Sunnex)

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