MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has assured victims of Typhoon Auring in the Caraga region that the government would not abandon them in times of hardship brought by calamities.
Duterte yesterday conducted an aerial inspection of typhoon-ravaged areas along with Sen. Bong Go before holding a briefing in Surigao del Sur.
Due to slow internet connectivity in the region, the President’s visit was not livestreamed by the government’s Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM), which is usually broadcast through state-run PTV-4 and Radyo Pilipinas.
Earlier in the day, Secretary to the Cabinet Karlo Nograles said the President had been getting regular updates about the impact of the typhoon.
As of Monday, Nograles said a total of 29,008 families or 112,734 individuals have been affected by the typhoon.
“We do not have any casualty as of the moment. A total of 18,996 families or 69,682 individuals have been evacuated and financial assistance has been extended to all those affected,” he said.
“There are also other regions that continue to feel the effects of Typhoon Auring in terms of strong rains and flooding. We continue to monitor the situation on the ground and all the agencies and departments that are in charge of providing relief, rescue and response operations are doing their duties,” Nograles said.
He commended government officials and their teams involved in the rescue and monitoring operations of affected areas.
Auring, which has weakened into a low- pressure area, dissipated yesterday after triggering widespread flooding in Mindanao, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.
The tail-end of a frontal system, however, was still expected to bring moderate to heavy rains over eastern portions of Isabela and mainland Cagayan yesterday.
The weather bureau also forecast light to moderate to at times heavy rains over Aurora, northern portion of Quezon and the rest of Cagayan Valley.
“Under these conditions, isolated flash floods and rain-induced landslides are likely during heavy or prolonged rainfall, especially in areas that are highly or very highly susceptible to these hazards as identified in hazard maps,” PAGASA said.
Auring dumped rains in many parts of Mindanao, particularly Surigao del Sur, in the past days, displacing more than 53,000 families.
Parts of Luzon and the Visayas also experienced rains and gusty winds.
Auring, the first tropical cyclone to enter the country this year, made landfall over Batag Island in Northern Samar on Monday.
Initial estimates on Auring’s damage to agriculture amounted to P2.11 million, data from the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Operation Center showed.
Based on initial reports, 139 farmers and 309 hectares of agricultural property in the Caraga region were affected as of Monday
“Affected commodities include rice, corn, assorted vegetables and fisheries. The affected crops were in their seedling to vegetative stages,” the DA said.
Rice accounted for 88 percent of the affected areas or 301 hectares, with the amount of damage estimated at P1.86 million.
Damage to the fishery sector amounted to P158,000; P62,500 for corn and P27,500 for high value crops.
The amounts were still subject for validation, the DA said.
“Due to DA’s early advisory prior to Auring’s landfall, some 12,538 hectares of rice were harvested in Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Eastern Visayas and Northern Mindanao with an equivalent production of 71,840 metric tons amounting to P1.31 billion,” the DA said.
A total of 3,201 hectares of crops were harvested in Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, Western Visayas and Davao region with an equivalent production of 6,296 metric tons amounting to P94.42 million.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has resumed sea travel in areas affected by Auring, which stalled around 5,000 passengers.
Travel resumed at around 1 p.m. yesterday in all ports in Surigao while ports in the Visayas and other areas in Bicol started at 4 p.m., PCG spokesman Armand Balilo said.
The suspension of sea travel caused a long queue of trucks and other vehicles and brought minor problems in the operation of the Lipata and Matnog ports.
Operations at the Batangas Port have started to normalize.
In a related development, Balilo said PCG personnel and assets were deployed for relief operations in typhoon-affected areas in Mindanao, particularly in Caraga and Davao regions.
The PCG will transport and distribute food, rice, blankets, clothes, hygiene kits, toiletries, mosquito nets, slippers, tents, medicines, face masks, face shields, among others.
Balilo said they would also provide personal protective equipment to affected frontliners in Mindanao.
The PCG will also accept donations, which can be dropped off at the nearest PCG unit or may be arranged for pick-up.
Interested individuals may contact the PCG at 0917-815-6913 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Closed two road sections in the Caraga region remained impassable as of Monday due to a damaged bridge slope protection and road slip caused by Auring.
Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar said one the affected sections was the Hubo Bridge in Barangay San Agustin, Tandag City, Surigao del Sur.
The road will remain impassable until the water level in the area subsides.
In the meantime, the DPWH installed road safety devices to warn motorists and pedestrians.
The Dinagat-Loreto Road section is also closed due to road slip. DPWH installed barricades and signages for public safety. – Helen Flores, Catherine Talavera, Robertzon Ramirez, Jose Rodel Clapano, Cecille Suerte Felipe