RETRIEVAL operations are still ongoing to extricate seven bodies believed to be still buried at the landslide site in Barangay Lucso-on, Naval, Biliran, which was hit by Tropical Storm "Urduja" (Kai-tak).
In an exclusive interview on Thursday afternoon, December 28, Barangay Captain Rodolfo Sambitan said that the death toll in the village stood at 27, adding that their priority is to retrieve the remaining bodies believed to be buried under mud and rocks.
"Ang confirmed nga dead is 27, ang narecover namo 20, naa pay 7 nga gi-retrieve karon, gipangita," Sambitan said.
Aside from the retrieval operations, Sambitan said the local government is also working to restore the damaged water piping system in the village.
"Nakapadagan nami og tubig pero di gayud episyente kay usa raman ka area, wala paman gayud masulod sa balay-balay nila tungod kay sige pa og operation," Sambitan said.
Sofronio Dacillo Jr., head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) in Biliran earlier said that the tragedy in Barangay Lucso-on was one of the "six major landslides" during the onslaught of Urduja.
The PDRRMC reported that landslides and flooding brought by Urduja has killed 42 people and 14 others missing.
The storm has displaced 22,545 families or 90,000 persons in Biliran province.
The Biliran Electric Cooperative (Bileco), meanwhile, restored electricity in all 117 villages in the province. The power restoration was completed on the night of December 24.
Bileco said the storm incurred damage cost of primary lines pegged at P11 million.
Recover and rehabilitation plan
The Office of the Civil Defense is aiming to complete the Rapid Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis (RDANA) for Biliran province next month.
National Economic Development Authority Regional Director Bonifacio Uy said that the RDANA was completed in eight Biliran towns last Wednesday, December 27.
RDANA is a disaster response tool used immediately during the early and critical onset of a disaster.
It aims to determine the immediate relief and response requirements, and identifies the magnitude of a disaster by focusing on the general impact on the society and the people’s coping capacity.
RDANA will enable the Eastern Visayas Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council is tasked to create a post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation plan. (SunStar Philippines/With reports from PNA)