Officials appeal for help as Neneng leaves behind widespread damage
TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan, Philippines — Officials in Cagayan province appealed for help as most of their farms remained flooded and numerous houses and infrastructure were damaged by Typhoon Neneng (international name: Nesat) that lashed through extreme Northern Luzon on Sunday.
The appeal came just as President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. assured on Monday that various state agencies have been on their toes to provide services to nearly 28,000 individuals affected by the typhoon.
“Electric lines are being restored in 13 municipalities in [Ilocos region] and five provinces in [Cagayan Valley],” the president said in a Twitter post.
“Road clearing continues in the 34 impassable sections and food packs have been delivered to families in 32 evacuation centers as well as other affected communities,” he said.
Marcos said he had already received the initial reports from the Department of Energy, the Department of Public Works and Highways and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) regarding the situation in typhoon-hit areas.
Two storms in a row
In the town of Santa Ana in Cagayan, which bore the brunt of Neneng, the typhoon displaced around 600 people (170 families) from 16 villages that were hit by landslides and severe flooding that reached over six feet in some areas, Mayor Nelson Robinion said on Monday.
The town has been placed by its local government under a state of calamity on Monday so it could access its quick response fund. Assessment of the extent of damage to farms and livestock and the clearing operations of areas hit by landslides were still ongoing, the mayor said.
Santa Ana was also hit hard by Tropical Depression Maymay, which already triggered widespread flooding that submerged several low-lying villages last week.
Neneng left the Philippine Area of Responsibility at 8 p.m. on Sunday but the typhoon’s through still affected the provinces of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.
Based on the report released by the NDRRMC on Monday, no fatality related to Neneng was recorded as of Monday but at least 27,914 people were affected in Cagayan Valley, Ilocos, and the Cordillera regions, including the 1,192 families in the path of the typhoon who were preemptively evacuated and the 285 families who were still taking shelter in various evacuation centers.
In an interview, Santa Ana information officer Irene Bea Faustino said local farmers were appealing for the donation of seeds after many of them lost their crops to floods.
Allacapan town, which was already placed under a state of calamity last week because of the onslaught of Maymay, was again inundated in floodwater after Neneng dumped heavy rain in the area.
Mayor Harry Florida posted a video of an aerial inspection of the town showing the severe flooding that submerged a vast area planted with rice and other essential crops.
Florida appealed to President Marcos to help the town find “long-term solutions” to the perennial flooding it experiences during the rainy season.
Florida said the Linao River, a tributary of the Cagayan River, should be dredged to prevent flooding in the areas around it.
The Cagayan provincial disaster risk reduction and management office (PDRRMO) on Monday said at least P532 million worth of damage to infrastructure and agriculture was already recorded in the province due to Maymay alone and was still assessing the additional damage caused by Neneng.
Floodwater in a number of areas in Cagayan province had receded on Monday, allowing most of the evacuees to return home, said Ruelie Rapsing of the Cagayan PDRRMO during Monday’s Laging Handa public briefing.
Around 60,000 individuals from 18 municipalities were affected by the typhoon, with only the towns of Ballesteros, Abulug and Pamplona still attending to evacuees, he added.
Rapsing also backed Florida’s call to dredge the Cagayan River, saying they had been making the recommendation since 2016.
In Ilocos Norte, which has been placed in a state of calamity due to extensive damage wrought by the typhoon, at least three towns remained without electricity on Monday after Neneng toppled electric posts, according to Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative (Inec).
Power outages were still reported in the towns of Adams, Carasi, and Dumalneg, Inec said in a statement.
It said the supply of electricity was already restored in at least 59 percent, or 384 of the province’s 559 villages, in the province.
Only two of the 80 villages in the capital city of Laoag were still without electricity on Monday.
In Ilocos Norte’s Pagudpud town, a tourist destination, power lines were still down in 15 of the 16 villages.
Inec said its personnel had been working overtime to completely restore the power supply in the province as it asked the public for understanding.
A report from the Ilocos Norte PDRRMO showed the damage to local agriculture had reached P24 million, while infrastructure sustained about P49 million in damage.
At least 3,377 families, or 14,278 individuals in 10 towns across the province, were affected by Neneng, according to the provincial government.
—REPORTS FROM MARLON RAMOS, VILLAMOR VISAYA JR., JOHN MICHAEL MUGAS, AND FRANCES MANGOSING