Urduja leaves Philippines; NDRRMC verifying reports number of dead, missing rose to 86

December 19, 2017 - 12:08 PM
Tropical Storm Urduja triggered landslides in Biliran province. File photo from the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas.

(UPDATED – 1:48 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines — Tropical Storm Urduja (Kai-Tak) left the Philippines Tuesday morning after pummeling the country and making six landfalls in the Visayas and Palawan, leaving tens of people dead and injured and thousands of others hungry and homeless.

The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said that as of 10 a.m., the center of Urduja was spotted 430 kilometers west of Puerto Princesa City outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility.

Meanwhile, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) spokesperson Romina Marasigan on Tuesday said the agency was verifying reports that the death toll from Urduja had increased to 41, while the number of missing rose to 45.

Twenty-eight of the reported fatalities came from Biliran; five from Leyte; three from Masbate; two from Samar; and one each from Camarines Norte, Eastern Samar, and Surigao del Norte.

Thirty-one of those reported missing were from Biliran; 11 from Eastern Samar; two from Romblon; and one from Camarines Sur.

The NDRRMC is also checking the report it received from the Department of Health that 67 people were injured in Leyte and Samar due to Urduja.

A total of 12,682 families affected by Urduja were evacuated to 381 temporary shelters in Mimaropa, Regions 5, 6, 7, 8, and Caraga, according to the council.

The government initially placed the damage to infrastructure caused by the storm at P543.22 million. This included the national roads destroyed by Urduja in Masbate, Eastern Samar, Samar, Leyte, and Compostela Valley.

The damage to agriculture was initially estimated to cost P3.76 million, including the farms that were affected in Masbate, Sorsogon, and Camarines Sur.

Meanwhile, Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the military would deploy its engineering units to assist in relief and rehabilitation efforts in areas hit by Urduja.

“We will assign ‘yong ating [our] engineering brigades na pumunta rito para tumulong [to go here and help]. Rest assured our military (is) here, we have the military commanders here to assist you,” Lorenzana said on Monday.

The defense chief also said a Philippine Navy ship would arrive in Biliran to assist in relief operations in the province.

“There is a ship coming from Cebu traveling towards Naval (Biliran’s capital). Meron silang mga dala dalang relief goods galing sa DSWD [They brought with them relief goods from the Department of Social Welfare and Development],” said Lorenzana.

Earlier, the Navy said it was preparing its strategic sealift vessels and landing craft heavies to help in the ongoing relief efforts for provinces devastated by Urduja.