Duterte places Luzon under state of calamity

MEALS FOR EVACUEES. Volunteers prepare meals for the typhoon victims that will be brought to the evacuation center on Wednesday, November 18 at Marikina Sports Center. Marikina City is one of the areas badly hit by Typhoon Ulysses. | PNA photo by Joey O. Razon

PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte declared the entire Luzon under a state of calamity after three successive typhoons battered the country’s largest island.

In a taped speech aired on Tuesday night, November 17, the Chief Executive revealed that he signed the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC)’s proposal to place Luzon under a state of calamity.

“Mukhang napirmahan ko na ata last night (Last night, I think I signed the proclamation),” he said.

The NDRRMC Council approved the recommendation to place the entire Luzon under a state of calamity on Monday, Nov. 16, during an emergency meeting where they discussed the impact of typhoons Quinta, Rolly and Ulysses.

As of this writing, the death toll for Ulysses is at 73, while the total numbers of injured and missing persons are at 24 and 19, respectively.

A total of 3,452,360 persons or 827,260 families in eight regions have been affected by Ulysses. Of the figures, 55,921 families or 223,378 persons are being served in 1,570 evacuation centers while 66,499 families or 232,513 families are being served outside.

Damage to agriculture is estimated at P2.89 billion in Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, Bicol Region, CAR, and National Capital Region (NCR), while infrastructure damage was placed at P5.77 billion.

The NDRRMC on Wednesday also recorded 63,885 damaged houses, of which 6,009 were classified as “totally damaged” and 57,876 as “partially damaged.”

Pope Francis prays for PH typhoon victims

Pope Francis offered his prayers to Filipinos affected by Typhoon Ulysses.

In a tweet on Sunday, November 15, the Pontiff also expressed his solidarity to the poorest families who were hit the hardest by the typhoon.

“I am near in prayer to the dear people of the #Philippines who are suffering because of the destruction, and especially because of the flooding caused by a strong #typhoon,” he wrote.

“I express my solidarity to the poorest families and those who are doing all they can to help them,” he added.

According to CBCP News, the Pope’s statement came after he had a private audience with Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle at the Vatican.

Tagle is the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples as well as the president of Caritas Internationalis.

Earlier, Caritas Philippines launched a global appeal to aid typhoon victims. It also urged the government to seek international aid.

“The nation is in quandary,” said Fr. Antonio Labiao, executive director of Caritas Philippines.

“It is clear that we cannot do this alone,” he added.

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