Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Nona' batters Bicol, displacing at least 372,327 persons

LEGAZPI CITY, Dec. 15 (PNA --Typhoon "Nona" battered Bicol, specifically Sorsogon, after it made a landfall Monday night with 140 kph sustained winds and rains.

"Nona" left at least 83,766 families, or 372,327 persons displaced, the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said Tuesday.

Storm surges and floods spawned by Nona also destroyed public infrastructures and hundreds of houses made of light materials in coastal villages along the eastern seaboard covering the provinces of Sorsogon, Albay and Camarines Sur, according to Bernardo Rafael Alejandro, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Bicol regional director and concurrent DRRMC chairperson.

Alejandro said that based on initial damage assessment, the agricultural crops and housing sectors were the most affected.

As to initial cost of damages, he said, they are still awaiting the reports from the provinces and that they are currently making a regional damage and needs assessment, the OCD official said.

Alejandro said that generally, Bicol has achieved its zero- casualty goal that it has been maintaining every time a disaster happens.

He said the zero casualty goal was attained in the provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur, Masbate and Camarines Norte.

When asked about a report that a 72-year-old elderly man and an 11-year-old child died when tree fell at the height of the typhoon in a village in Casiguran, Sorsogon, Alejandro said they are still waiting for the town's DRRMO report for confirmation.

In Sorsogon, a fisherman from Virac who sailed on Dec. 6 to catch fish sought refuged on Monday and was assisted by disaster response unit of Barcelona town.

According to Robert Busito, 21 and a native of Catanduanes, he and six others went fishing off the waters Pandan, Catanduanes on Dec. 6 but they were hit by strong sea waves that forced them to individually look for shelter.

Carole Mendizabal, Philippine Ports Authority(PPA) spokesperson, reported that as of 8 a.m. Tuesday there were still 1,423 passengers and 120 trucks and buses stranded in Matnog port.

According to Mendizabal that with the big volume of trucks and buses waiting to be shipped, it would take 3-4 days to decongest the port and bring it back to normal operation.

In Albay, Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal reported that over a hundred houses made of light materials in the coastal villages of San Roque, Sabang, Pigcale and Baybay were partially and totally destroyed by a 9-foot-tall storm surge that hit the villages Monday night.

Knee-deep floodwaters also hit Barangay Oro Site and several other low-lying villages in downtown Legazpi.

Power and communication lines were still down in some parts of Albay, Sorsogon, Camarines Sur and Masbate.

Flights were still cancelled in Legazpi and Naga as PWS No, 1 is still hoisted over Bicol.

Major roads in Bicol have been cleared of fallen trees and electrical posts and have been passable, except in some areas in Manito, Pioduran in Albay. (PNA) RMA/FGS/MSA/CBD/EDS