Zero casualties, P2.3 billion initial "Ompong" damages in Ilocos Norte

Sep 16, 2018 ...

As per the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) earlier today, September 16, Ilocos Norte has sustained an initial P2,347,250,000.00 (P2.3 billion) in agricultural and infrastructural damages due to Typhoon "Ompong" (International Name: Mangkhut).

With maximum sustained winds of 255kph and a diameter of 1,010 km, "Ompong" is the strongest typhoon to hit the country this year. Losses in agriculture have reached P1.9 billion, while the infrastructure sector has suffered P447,250,000.00 in damages.

These were reported in a meeting with President Rodrigo R. Duterte and his cabinet, held at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Session Hall this afternoon.

Governor Imee R. Marcos stated, "It's very clear-cut, particularly in District 2. May I urge that the Public Works [Department] restore the 2nd District allocation which was removed from the budget last year... 92% of the damage occurred in the 2nd District, based on unfinished projects that were not continued."

In terms of human life, zero casualties were recorded.

General Roy A. Cimatu, Environment and Natural Resources secretary, commented, "This is an indication of the anti-disaster consistence of the Ilocanos, especially from Ilocos Norte, with the leadership of the governor."

Governor Marcos had initiated pre-emptive evacuation as early as September 12, two days before the typhoon reached its peak strength in the province. Forced evacuation of coastal communities was also conducted on September 14 and 15.

She said, "It's nothing short of a miracle: a lot of prayer and a total number of evacuees of almost 14,000. We started with pre-emptive evacuation very early on Wednesday night, so they said I was exaggerated, but as it turned out, it worked.

"We imposed a 'lola watch:' our priority were our senior citizens... the PWDs [persons with disabilities], pregnant women, the sick, and babies. We had four babies born in the evacuation centers," added the governor.

She had also issued a liquor ban by September 13 and initiated an animal evacuation. "We provided water and feeds. I do not know if it's particular to Ilocos Norte, but Ilocanos refuse to move without their most valuable property: livestock. As a result, we had to move the animals before they would budge."

Provincial hospitals were put on full alert for 72 hours throughout the typhoon. Moreover, a group of volunteer doctors had split into four roving teams, on the lookout for medical emergencies.

"Ompong" battered Ilocos Norte for more than two days, reaching Tropical Cyclone Warning System (TCWS) Signal No. 4 by 11:00 o'clock on Friday night and only subsiding to Signal No. 2 after 24 hours.

By 5:00a.m. today, all TCWS signals were lifted.

by Mizpah Grace Castro

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