State of calamity eyed in Ilocos Sur, La Union town
LAOAG CITY — The province of Ilocos Sur and a town in La Union, which were hit hard by Severe Tropical Storm Maring (international name: Kompasu) early this week, would be placed under a “state of calamity,” local officials said.
Ilocos Sur Gov. Ryan Luis Singson said an extensive assessment of the damage to agriculture and infrastructure was still being finalized but the declaration of a state of calamity was imminent.
Maring left an initial estimated damage of P580 million to farms, livestock, roads, and other structures, and displaced over 18,000 residents in coastal towns of the province, Singson said.
Singson had directed local officials in the affected areas to suspend the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines due to widespread power outages and use the funds instead to help disaster-stricken residents.
Appeal for help
Affected residents have appealed for help, particularly for donations of ready-to-eat food, clothing, blankets, and hygiene kits, including those for infants.
Local authorities on Friday were still trying to fully restore power lines in the capital city of Vigan, and the towns of Caoayan, Bantay, Sto. Domingo, San Ildefonso, Sta. Catalina, and San Vicente.
In nearby La Union province, a state of calamity would be declared in the town of Luna where over 12,000 residents were displaced by the storm, Mayor Rachel Pinzon said in a statement.
The provincial government said the extent of the damage to agriculture already reached P342 million, affecting over 9,800 rice, vegetable, and corn farmers.
The other La Union towns of Bagulin, Bauang, San Juan, Bangar, Luna, Balaoan, Burgos, Caba, Naguilian, Pugo, Supiden, and Tubao also experienced severe flooding and landslides triggered by Maring.
Floodwater in these areas reached as high as 6 to 7 feet (around 2 meters) at the height of Maring’s onslaught, according to Bryan Joves, operations head of La Union provincial disaster risk reduction and management office.
“Runoff water from upland Benguet province and the high tide [in La Union] worsened the flooding,” he said.
In Pangasinan province, 176 families or 823 individuals were evacuated to safety when widespread flooding submerged their villages in Alaminos City and the towns of Laoac, San Nicolas, Manaoag, San Jacinto, Sta. Barbara, Lingayen, Bani, San Fabian, Pozorrubio, Sual and Bolinao.
Authorities also reported one fatality, a 24-year-old woman, who died of electrocution at Barangay Dorongan in Lingayen.
Veggie prices stable
In the Cordillera, Maring’s damage to crops and livestock in Cordillera was pegged at P212.7 million.
Agot Balanoy, president of a vegetable farmers’ multipurpose cooperative in Benguet, said local farmers managed to save some of their harvests as floodwater inundated mostly newly planted crops.
She said landslides caused by the storm temporarily delayed the transportation of vegetables and other crops on Tuesday but the trade resumed immediately after roads were cleared the following day.
“We did not expect an increase in prices of vegetables considering that the delay in transportation and damage to crops were not that significant because Maring did not linger long enough to cause extensive impact, unlike the habagat (monsoon) rains,” Balanoy said on Friday.
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