Manila: The death toll from the two typhoons that wrecked the whole of Luzon in September and early October has reached 108, with 26 missing, a disaster official said.
Jomar Guiam, 14, was the youngest of 14 fishermen from Pangasinan in central Luzon who was reported missing after they left for Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (or South China Sea) on September 22, said Undersecretary Benito Ramos, head of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
That was before Typhoon Nesat entered north Luzon's Isabela region coming in from the Pacific Ocean on September 27.
Many missing fishermen were never seen again after Typhoon Nalgae exacerbated the country's worst weather when it entered northern Luzon's Pangasinan on October 1, explained Ramos.
Death toll from the two typhoons was initially listed at 58 but climbed to 77 and then to 82.
"All the missing people will be considered dead only upon the retrieval of their bodies," said Ramos.
Many relatives, however, have given up hope for those who have been missing for more than 10 days
The two typhoons affected 3.97 million people in 4,932 villages in 425 towns and 51 cities in 52 provinces. About 280,000 of residents were totally displaced and brought to evacuation centres. A total of 48 million reside in Luzon, including Metro Manila. Low-lying areas were initially flooded 12 feet high in several towns such as Tarlac and Pangasinan in central Luzon, and in northern suburban Bulacan which is 50km north of Metro Manila.
The wide-reaching effects of the typhoons brought heavy rains and floods on all of Luzon. The cost of damage to infrastructure (67 bridges and roads in four regions) and agriculture has reached pesos 9.5 billion (Dh 795.99 million), said Ramos.
A total of five towns, eight cities and four provinces were declared under a state of calamity, Ramos said.