MANILA, Philippines - Typhooon “Mina” weakened into a storm yesterday as it moved away from the Philippine area of responsibility, but not after leaving 17 persons dead, with eight others missing and 21 injured, reports from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.
NDRRMC and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) head Benito Ramos said the trail of devastation left by Mina in 73 municipalities, four cities and 15 provinces from the six regions also resulted in the destruction of close to P1 billion in agricultural crops as well as private and government infrastructure.
As of 4 p.m. yesterday, the eye of Mina was spotted at 340 kilometers northwest of Basco, Batanes with maximum sustained winds of 95 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 120 kph.
Mina was forecast to move west northwest at seven kph.
Storm warning signal no. 1 remained hoisted over the Batanes as of 5 p.m. Yesterday.
Mina is expected to be 500 kms north northwest of Basco, Batanes this afternoon.
Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) administrator Nathaniel Servando said the southwest monsoon, enhanced by Mina, will still bring light to moderate rains over the western section of Luzon, including Metro Manila, until Wednesday.
“In NCR (National Capital Region) we expect improving weather although it will still be partly cloudy to cloudy with possible rainshowers and thunderstorms in the afternoon or evening,” Servando said.
PAGASA supervising undersecretary Graciano Yumul said Mina was expected to leave the country last night.
He said the weather in Luzon will start to improve by Wednesday.
PAGASA warned residents in low lying and mountainous areas, particularly over the western section of Northern and Central Luzon, against possible flashfloods and landslides.
Those living in coastal areas were also warned against big waves generated by monsoon surge.
Ramos said eight of the fatalities were from Ilocos, six from Cordillera, and one each from Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Bicol regions.
The latest fatalities in Ilocos were identified as Pablo Lazaro, Andres Calaro of Ilocos Norte, Romeo Ping-ilin of Mountain Province, Rustom Paul Joaquin and Mark Lester Agdeppa both of Ilocos Sur. The four died of drowning.
The new fatalities in Cordillera were Gefonie Cael and Rodolfo Gagucas both of Baguio City. The two were buried in a landslide.
Other people who died during the height of the typhoon were Mark Erol Colipano of Quezon City, Alex Magno of Benguet, Romeo Dang-alan Jr. of Ilocos Sur and Ruel Cabalic Soria of Zambales.
Also reported dead were Reajen Bautista and John Rey Bautista both of San Fabian, Pangasinan; Revullar Flores and Apolinario Flores both of Baguio City; Floro Sulliven of Baguio City and Nelson Vergara of Catanduanes.
Those who were reported missing were identified as Fred Nantes Sr. of La Union, Roger Marqued of Ilocos Sur, Apolonio Licupaof Kalinga; Antonia Flores of Benguet, Joaquin Dagul, Gregorio Padua, Roberto Agaming and Dindo Candido all from Abra.
A total of 21 people, 11 of them from Benguet, sustained injuries. Six of the injured were from Quezon City, two were from Baguio City and one each from Apayao and Ilocos Sur.
NDRRMC said 231,314 persons or 56,167 families in 653 barangays in Metro Manila, Ilocos, Cagayan, Cordilleda, Central Luzon, Bicol, and Western Visayas regions were affected by the typhoon.
A total of 1,215 families or 5,369 individuals were inside 38 evacuation centers nationwide. Close to 56,000 persons or almost 15,000 families chose to evacuate to the houses of relatives or their friends.
Ramos said the typhoon has so far damaged P1.01-billion worth of property. Of this, P986.75 million were damaged crops, livestock and fisheries while about P23.2 million represented damaged infrastructure such as roads, bridges and schools.
But he said the damage could balloon to P2 billion due to the typhoon’s impact on infrastructure.
DOH, DSWD on top of situation
Ramos said that as of yesterday, eight bridges and 20 road sections in the Ilocos Region and Cagayan Valley as well as in Metro Manila remained impassable to all types of vehicles due to flooding, landslides, and mudflows.
He added that some P5 million in assistance has been provided to the typhoon-affected residents.
The Department of Health (DOH) has provided P75,000 worth of medicine to the 15 provinces battered by Mina.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) yesterday assured local government units affected by the typhoon of sufficient relief supplies and additional funds.
As of yesterday morning, the government has released P4,110,306.50 to families affected by Mina. Of this amount, the DSWD poured in some P621,226.50 worth of augmentation assistance to affected LGUs, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said.
Residents of Barangay Bagunot in Baggao Cagayan province cross a bridge to higher ground after typhoon MIna ravaged the area. JONJON VICENCIO
She said 38 evacuation centers remained open serving 1,215 families with 5,369 individuals as of yesterday.
Some 763 houses have been reported damaged, 34 of which were totally damaged while 729 were partially damaged, Soliman said. Region 2 reported the most number of damaged houses with 585.
23 fishermen missing
Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported the sinking of three vessels at the height of the typhoon and the maritime agency was also forced to postpone its search and rescue for 23 missing fishermen in Pangasinan because of bad weather.
PCG spokesman Lieutenant Commander Algier Ricafrente said that the M/Tug Unity II sank near the vicinity of Pier 18 in Vitas, Tondo, Manila, while being towed by its sister ship M/Tug Betheva.
The tugboat was reportedly battered by big waves that caused it to sink.
In Sta. Ana, Cagayan, the PCG received two reports of sunken ships.
Coast Guard District Northen Luzon (CGDNLZ) was prepared to launch a search and rescue operation for the 23 missing fishermen but had to call it off because of the bad weather. They would proceed once the weather and sea conditions improve.
PCG commandant Admiral Ramon Liwag earlier ordered two PCG vessels and one PCG Islander airplane to conduct search and rescue operation. – With Alexis Romero, Evelyn Macairan, Jennifer Rendon, Artemio Dumlao, Raymund Catindig, Charlie Lagasca, AP