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Manila monsoon death toll expected to reach 100

Authorities say eight people remain missing while 62,846 others have been rescued

Filipinos walk along a muddy road in Marikina
Image Credit: AP
Filipinos walk along a muddy road after floods recede in suburban Marikina city, east of Manila, Philippines.
Gulf News

Manila: Deaths from monsoon rains that inundated large areas of Metro Manila and nearby regions are expected to reach close to a hundred, authorities said.

As of Sunday, official reports from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said the death toll from combined effects of the southwest monsoon and typhoon Haikui had reached 85 as disaster management workers continue to recover more fatalities.

Emergency relief officials and doctors have been deployed to flood-devastated communities to prevent outbreaks of disease.

According to the NDRRMC eight others remained missing as of Sunday while 62,846 had been rescued.

Among the latest deaths reported were victims from Central Luzon. NDRRMC said Joey Camposanto Tolentino, Lloyd Navarro are residents of San Fernando City while Jeffrey Mercado of Pio town in Porac and Eller Hipolito Terrado of San Nicolas, Arayat.

Back flooding

Metro Manila had been swamped initially by the heavy monsoon rains spawned by the Haikui starting Tuesday. Heavy rains that persisted up till Thursday in Central

Luzon caused “back flooding” that claimed the lives of several people in Pampanga and Bulacan.

The heavy rains and floods affected 679,057 families or 3,067,500 people in 2,306 villages in 167 municipalities and 36 cities in 16 provinces in the regions of Ilocos, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Western Visayas and the National Capital Region or Metro Manila.

At the peak of its onslaught, the weather disturbance had affected more than two million people.

As Filipinos take a breather from the extreme weather events, a new cyclone is reportedly brewing in the eastern portion of the country.

“The active low pressure area East of Northern Luzon has developed into a tropical depression and was named Helen,” the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services (PAGASA) said in a bulletin released on Sunday.

“Helen” will enhance the southwestern monsoon and bring rains in Metro Manila starting Wednesday.

“Scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms will be felt over the Bicol Region, Visayas and Mindanao within 24 hours,” PAGASA said.

Enduring solution

Meanwhile, Senator Loren Legarda said that the country urgently needs an effective and enduring solution to the recurring problem of inundation as she streessed that the government must immediately create a plan of action for flood prevention and mitigation and implement it right away.

Legarda said that while the current focus of the government is on relief, recovery and rehabilitation for those affected by the massive flooding in Metro Manila and nearby provinces in Luzon, efforts on disaster prevention and mitigation should not take a back seat.

“Our mindset should not only focus on what is happening now but also, and even more important, on what will still happen in the future because as we engage in post-disaster activities, a new natural hazard might be brewing already and may strike anytime. If we do not address the vulnerabilities of our communities, we will end up always rebuilding and never moving forward,” she pointed out.

“While we experience the ‘new norm,’ tragedy and enormous losses should not be part of this norm. This is the essence of disaster risk reduction, preventing natural hazards from resulting in a disaster. The challenge therefore is to build-back-better and for this recent calamity, what we need is an effective and enduring solution to the flood problem,” Legarda said.

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