MANILA, Philippines—The death toll from Tropical Storm “Quinta” that hit central Philippines on Christmas Day climbed to 17 on Friday as authorities began surveying the damage to thousands of hectares of farmlands.
More than 13,000 people who fled to evacuation centers at the height of the storm began returning home after Quinta’s exit.
Regional disaster councils have so far reported 12 dead in Western Visayas and five in Eastern Visayas.
Of the fatalities in Western Visayas, nine were in Iloilo, two in Aklan and one in Capiz, according to the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) in Region VI and the provincial disaster risk reduction and management councils (PDRRMC).
The figures may climb further. Capiz PDRRMC action officer Esperidion Pelaez said two persons (not one) died due to drowning in Capiz. They were identified as Christian Olivar of Dumalag town and Jonaire Deretso of Bingawan, Iloilo. Five were reported still missing in Region VI.
In Eastern Visayas, those confirmed dead were Julio Silvano of Merida, Leyte, and Joliver Casipung of Borongan, Eastern Samar, both fishermen who were earlier reported as missing. The three other fatalities were Rodrigo Busa (not Bursa as earlier reported), his wife Rosita and their son Kenjie of Maydolong, Eastern Samar,who were killed when an apitong tree fell on their hut.
The flooding caused by Quinta affected 119 barangays in Capiz and some areas of Passi City and 22 of Iloilo’s 42 towns.
In Roxas City and three nearby municipalities, residents have difficulty sourcing potable water because the Panay River, their only water source, has been contaminated with silt.
The Metro Roxas Water District (MRWD) has stopped supplying water to its 20,000 service connections in Roxas City and the towns of Panay, Panitan and Ivisan since Thursday afternoon.
Rosario Cabrera, Office of Civil Defense Western Visayas director and RDRRMC chair, said the towns of Pontevedra, Panit-an and Pan-ay in Capiz remained flooded as of Friday.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala placed damage to crops at P124.4 million.
The Department of Agriculture reported P101.5 million worth of losses in rice crops and P6 million in corn damage. High value crops (vegetables) also suffered about P16.8 million in losses. Most of the current losses reported were in Aklan in Western Visayas. Damage to farm facilities and related infrastructure was estimated at P11,500.
Regional field units are still validating the initial estimates, the DA said.
Alcala said the damage caused by Quinta was relatively “minimal.” He added that the rains brought by the storm saved some areas in northern Luzon from drought. With reports by Inquirer Visayas and Inquirer Southern Luzon, and Dona Z. Pazzibugan, Riza T. Olchondra and Tarra Quismundo in Manila