'Ompong' death toll continues to increase

THE number of persons left dead by Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) continues to increase as more bodies have been recovered from the landslide site in Ucab, Itogon in Benguet.

In the 6 a.m. Thursday (September 20) report of the Philippine National Police National Operations Center, it said the number of fatalities from Typhoon Ompong has increased to 88, while 64 others remained missing, and 70 were injured.

In Itogon alone, at least 49 were confirmed dead, while 56 others were missing.

A major landslide hit Barangay Ucab during the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong on September 15. Dozens of miners ,together with their families, were believed to have been buried alive in the site although authorities were hoping to find survivors.

Authorities who took part in the search, rescue and retrieval operations said there is no stopping them from digging until the last victim is accounted for.

Rescuers were reportedly having a hard time in the operation as they have to do everything manually -- from digging the mud in order to locate or get the bodies of the victims to bringing their bodies to the main road.

A backhoe would be of big help in the operation but the terrain is too deep that such equipment cannot go through.

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said a total of 1,436,997 people or 345,158 families have been affected by Ompong in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), Metro Manila and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

Of the number, 13,949 families or 54,935 people remain inside 390 evacuation centers, while the others sought refuge with their families and relatives.

The government recorded a total of 44,599 damaged houses -- 3,610 destroyed and 40,989 damaged.

The government assured though that it has provided a total of P56,323,942.67 worth of assistance to the affected population. The assistance includes food and non-food items, such as medicines and other basic human necessities like construction materials for the victims' houses.

The NDRRMC said P14.3 billion worth of agriculture and P2.3 billion worth of infrastructure were destroyed by Typhoon Ompong.

In the agriculture sector, at least 171,932 farmers in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon and CAR were affected. (SunStar Philippines)


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