MANILA, Philippines–Eight more bodies have been recovered from flood-hit villages in Western Visayas, bringing to 20 the official death toll from Tropical Storm “Quinta,” the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Sunday.
Undersecretary Benito Ramos, NDRRMC executive director, said that except for the three members of a family in Eastern Samar who died when a tree fell on their house, all the victims had died from drowning.
“The rains brought by the storm caused four major rivers in Western Visayas to swell swamping a large portion of the region,” Ramos told the Inquirer over the phone.
The council identified the latest fatalities as Benedicto Castor, Jezel Superio, Nilo Icawalo, Romeo Idorita, Jaymar Egamino, Joel Jimenea, Edwin Farinas and Osot Sabdane.
3 injured, 4 missing
It said three persons were injured and four others were still missing in 44 incidents triggered by the weather disturbance.
According to the NDRRMC, the 17th storm to ravage the country in the past 12 months also damaged P225 million worth of infrastructure and agricultural products.
The NDRMMC chief said floods damaged agricultural lands and residential communities located in low-lying areas.
Ramos, who flew to Iloilo on Saturday to oversee the government’s relief efforts, said some areas of Passi City, the municipalities of Calinog and Zarraga in Iloilo province, and the towns of Dumarao, Dumalag, Cuartero and Dao in Capiz province were still under two feet of water.
The NDRRMC said 4,290 families composed of 23,337 individuals were still in 60 evacuation centers in Western Visayas.
“But the floodwaters are now subsiding continuously. We expect those displaced by the floods to return to their homes in the next few days,” Ramos said.
Besides food supplies and clothing, he said the flood victims needed construction materials to rebuild their houses.
Homes washed away
“Most of the people who lost their houses were living along the riverbanks. Their homes were washed away when the rivers overflowed,” Ramos said.
The council said the storm destroyed a total of 5,097 houses on Panay island and two nearby regions.
According to Ramos, it may take at least three months to repair the damaged infrastructure and bring the flood-hit communities in the Visayas back to normalcy.
Originally posted at 12:24 pm | December 30, 2012