Typhoon Ulysses death toll climbs to 67

‘ULYSSES’ AFTERMATH. Aerial photo shows the aftermath of Typhoon Ulysses in Cagayan Valley. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte conducted aerial inspections of severely affected areas in Cagayan Valley and Bicol Region on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020. | Presidential photo by Ace Morandante

The Philippines’ National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Sunday, November 15, recorded 67 fatalities due to Typhoon Ulysses (international name: Vamco).

Of the deaths, 22 were from Cagayan Valley, two were from Central Luzon, 17 from CALABARZON, eight from Bicol Region, 10 from Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), and eight from the National Capital Region (NCR).

The NDRRMC also recorded 21 injuries, of which three were in Cagayan Valley, nine in CALABARZON, eight in Bicol, and one in CAR.

Meanwhile, 12 persons are still missing — one in CALABARZON, eight in Bicol, and three in NCR.

A total of 1,755,224 persons or 428,657 families residing in 4,543 barangays in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, Mimaropa, Bicol, NCR, and CAR have been affected by Ulysses.

The NDRRMC also estimated that Ulysses left P2.14 billion in agricultural damage while damage to infrastructure was at P482.85 million.

Ulysses also damaged at least 25,852 homes.

Affected households should be relocated
The Philippine Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), for its part, said families in danger zones and other flood-prone areas should be relocated to minimize the casualties caused by calamities.

DHSUD Secretary Eduardo del Rosario pointed out that there are three categories to identify flood-prone areas: highly susceptible, moderate, and less susceptible.

“We will coordinate directly with the local government units (LGUs) to identify highly susceptible areas prone to flooding so that we can enforce resettlement of our people to safer ground to prevent casualties in the future,” he said.

Del Rosario also assured that affected families will receive financial assistance from DHSUD in coordination with the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Families with severely destroyed houses will receive cash amounting to P10,000, while those with partially damaged houses will receive P5,000.

“We will be creating an inter-agency team to conduct an assessment to be led by the Office of the Civil Defense and includes the DHSUD, NHA (National Housing Authority) and DSWD so that we can determine who will be granted financial assistance,” Del Rosario said.

EO for rehab, recovery efforts
An executive order creating a task force that will be in charge of the rehabilitation of calamity-stricken areas in the wake of the subsequent typhoons that hit the country recently is being drafted by Malacañang.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, the task force which will be called the Build Back Better Task Force, will be headed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

“This body will have a clear chain of command, and a direct mandate to address and monitor the multifarious issues and concerns involved in the rehabilitation and recovery phase of typhoon-affected areas,” he said Monday, Nov. 16.

Roque also urged the public to give the new task force a chance after critics pointed out that the government already has the NDRRMC.

“Wala naman pong (There’s no) superfluity. It will facilitate the easier and the faster provision of relief and assistance pag meron pong kalamidad (if there is calamity),” he said.

“Ang gusto lang talaga ni Presidente mas mabilis na pagbigay ng pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayan pag merong kalamidad (The President just wants the immediate giving of aid to our citizens during calamities),” he added. “Let’s give it a chance. Wala pa naman ‘no (It hasn’t even been signed yet). Let’s see what kind of a difference this EO will make as delivery of quick responses and rehabilitation efforts in calamity-stricken area.”

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at ritchel.mendiola@asianjournalinc.com.

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