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Philippines: Typhoon Melor’s death toll 39
December 19, 2015, 4:37 pm
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Fatalities could rise as tropical depression devastates southern Philippines

Thirty-nine people, including five missing, are thought to have died due to Typhoon Melor, which hit northern and central Philippines (including Metro Manila) between Sunday and Wednesday. The number could rise after tropical depression Onyok ravaged southern Philippines on Friday, officials said, adding the calamities will affect holiday season festivities.

President Benigno Aquino declared a state of national calamity, to fast-track relief and rehabilitation nationwide ahead of Christmas (on December 25) and New Year.

“Rain has been pouring on the whole country due to Typhoon Melor and tropical depression Onyok. Some 151 municipalities [towns] in the country’s 10 out of 12 regions have recorded more than 100-millimetres of rainfall,” Undersecretary Alexander Pama, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), told Gulf News on Saturday.

A total of 742,991 people or 165,554 families have been displaced and evacuated due to Melor and Onyok, said Pama, adding the official number of homeless could further rise after data from the southern Philippines reaches his office in Metro Manila and is analysed.

Offices and schools remained closed, and sailing and flying banned in affected cities and municipalities. The cities continue to experience power outages, communication trouble, impassable roads and bridges, said Pama.

Areas in Metro Manila, northern and southern Luzon, and central Philippines remain flooded. Rains at 30 millimetres per hour severely flooded Bicol, Quezon, and central Philippines on Saturday because of the northeast monsoon and tail end of a cold front that persisted after Typhoon Melor left for the South China Sea (on Wednesday), before Onyok’s arrival in the south, said Pama.

“Several flooding incidents were reported after tropical depression Onyok hit Davao Oriental on Friday. Flood-prone and populated areas of Caraga and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) continue to experience moderate to occasional heavy downpour,” said Pama, adding that Onyok weakened into a low pressure area, but will leave for the South China Sea on Sunday.

Typhoon Melor’s damage to agriculture and infrastructure reached P1.893 billion, but Onyok’s damage to agriculture and infrastructure in the south is not yet known, said Pama, adding the effect of Melor and Onyok on tourism and trading nationwide is not yet known. Authorities have been opening the gate valves of dams with critical water levels, affecting low-lying areas already saturated by torrential rains.

More than 20 typhoons, majority of them deadly, hit the Philippines every year. Four-grade Typhoon Haiyan claimed 7,350 dead and missing in central Visayas in November 2013.

Source: Gulf News

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