‘Maring’ leaves at least nine dead; DA places initial crop damage at P29.4M

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AT least nine people were reported killed while 11 others are missing as Severe Tropical Storm (STS) Maring pummeled the northern part of the country, triggering flooding and landslides.

Defense Undersecretary and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director Ricardo Jalad said that most of the casualties perished from landslides in Itogon and La Trinidad in Benguet and a flash flood in Narra, Palawan.

The Department of Agriculture reported that Maring damaged 1,713 metric tons (MT) of produce worth P29.4 million in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

Based on its initial assessment, the DA said, about 1,128 farmers tilling 1,225 hectares of agricultural areas were affected by the damage caused by the weather disturbance to the sector.

In a briefing with regional heads of disaster offices in the affected regions, Jalad, however, said the casualty figure is still subject for official validation.

Strong and incessant rains generated by Maring triggered flooding and landslides in towns and cities in Ilocos Sur, La Union, Ilocos Norte, Cagayan, Isabela and in Baguio and Benguet.

The flooding was so severe and high in some parts of Ilocos Sur and Cagayan that residents were forced to occupy rooftops of their houses while pleading for rescue.

“So far, LGU DRRMCs [local government unit Disaster Risk and Reduction Councils] are on the scene to respond, but Regional DRRMCs [RDRRMC] 1, 2 and CAR have already mobilized our standby units to provide augmentation support to the affected localities,” NDRRMC spokesman Mike Timbal said.

“We have received messages in socmed [social media] asking for rescue assistance, in particular LU [La Union] and Ilocos Sur communities. These have been referred to RDRRMC 1 for action,” he added.

Based on the update provided by Jalad, landslides buried at least three houses in Benguet and Baguio City where a total of at least six people are currently the subjects of rescue operations.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said a landslide at around 7:30 p.m. hit the house at Barangay Dominican Mirador on Monday, burying four people and injuring another. A body had been retrieved as of Tuesday morning.

Magalong said at least nine other incidents of landslides were reported in the city.

In Palawan, Jalad said a flash flood swept Barangay Batang-batang in the municipality of Narra wherein four people died, which the Mimaropa police also confirmed.

Five people were also missing as a result of the flash flood.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard said its personnel have rescued families from the flooding in Sta. Teresita, Cagayan and Brooke’s Point, Palawan, and were helping in rescue operations in other areas in Northern Luzon.

Most affected commodities

“Affected commodities include corn and high-value crops. These values are subject to validation,” DA continued in its report released on Tuesday afternoon.

“Additional damage and losses are expected in flooded areas due to Maring and enhanced southwest monsoon,” DA added.

DA data showed that corn production suffered the brunt of the storm damage as it reported production loss of about 1,653 MT worth P28.1 million. About 1,135 hectares of corn farms were affected by Maring, according to DA.

The remaining recorded damage of P1.29 million was in the high-value crops sector wherein about 90 hectares were affected with a volume loss of 60 MT, the DA added.

“Based on the combined data of Regions CAR, 1, 2, 3, 4A, 4B, 6, and 9, the area of standing crops that may be affected by STS Maring totals to 1,469,985 hectares [77.98 percent of the national standing crops] for rice and 298,523 hectares [57.98 percent of the national standing crops] for corn,” the DA said.

The DA said it has about P268 million worth of quick response funds that it can use in rehabilitating the affected areas. The DA added that it would provide rice, corn and assorted vegetable seeds to farmers in the affected regions.

Relief ops

Meanwhile, supporters of Manila Mayor Isko Moreno in Northern Luzon have mobilized their volunteer organizations to extend help to their  provincemates affected by Typhoon Maring.

The ISKO Northern Alliance (INA), a member of the National Alliance for Isko (NAISKO) and Ikaw Muna Pilipinas (IMP), initiated relief operations in several areas in the calamity-hit Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley and CAR.

Leaders of the volunteer groups have coordinated with the office of Mayor Isko on the provision of goods and other needed assistance in the typhoon affected areas.

Other organizations supporting Mayor Isko from the National Capital Region and other parts of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, have responded to the call for help and support for their Ilocano brothers and sisters.

PRC Palawan extends aid to Maring victims

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has provided urgent assistance to Typhoon Maring victims in various parts of the country on Monday.

In Palawan, the PRC deployed its staff and volunteers to distribute face masks and serve hot meals to 75 individuals at the evacuation center in Baragay Malinao, Narra.

An estimated 300 families were affected in various municipalities in the southern part of Palawan. The PRC Palawan Chapter will continue to provide humanitarian intervention in the different affected areas.

“All PRC assets and personnel are on standby and will be deployed if necessary to alleviate the suffering of our kababayans before, during, and after the storm. That’s how PRC works,” PRC Chairman and CEO Richard Gordon said.

With Claudeth Mocon-Ciriaco

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