Egay cuts destructive path through Luzon
LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte, Philippines — Fierce howling winds and heavy rains spawned by Typhoon Egay (international name: Doksuri) left at least five dead in Batangas, Rizal, and Ilocos Sur provinces, as the typhoon barreled through Luzon on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to reports gathered by the Inquirer.
More than 12,000 people in the hard-hit regions of Ilocos and Cagayan Valley huddled in temporary shelters while thousands of households were left without power, as Egay burst riverbanks, uprooted trees, ripped roofs off houses, and pounded coastal communities, including isolated villages tucked away in forests.
While the Inquirer verified the deaths of five persons due to Egay from local official sources, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported only one fatality and two injured on Wednesday afternoon.
It said Egay affected a total of 309,909 persons, or 93,109 families from 460 barangays in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, Western Visayas, Central Visayas and Soccsksargen.
Of these, 12,202 individuals, or 3,823 families, were in evacuation centers.
One of the fatalities, 31-year-old Mike Fernandez of Narvacan town in Ilocos Sur, was electrocuted when he touched a grounded power post while moving his pet dog to a safer spot on Tuesday night, authorities said.
A responding team from the Narvacan Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO) said the victim died while being rushed to a nearby hospital.
In Ramon town, Isabela province, bread vendor Ofelia Daculan, 52, died after a coconut tree fell on her at dawn on Wednesday.
Two other women were reported to have drowned in Rizal province, even before Egay made landfall over Fuga Island in Aparri, Cagayan, at past 3 a.m. on Wednesday.
Police said Adelfa Escolano, 71, was found dead at 11 a.m. on Tuesday after her house was swept by a flash flood at Barangay Iglesia in Cardona.
In Baras town, the body of Delisa Largo was found floating at Laguna Lake near Kasarinlan Park in Barangay Santiago around 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
At a resort in Calatagan, Batangas, Gorgan Hagesater, 42, a Norwegian, drowned after he was swept away by big waves while swimming with his friend and compatriot Christian Atle Hanse, 43, on Tuesday afternoon, police said.
P173-M standby fund
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who was in Kuala Lumpur for a three-day state visit, said the government had prepared a standby fund for disaster response; deployed search, rescue, and retrieval teams; and positioned relief items for distribution to affected families.
“The more than P173 million standby funds and food and non-food items are ready, and the search, rescue, and retrieval personnel from our Armed Forces [of the Philippines], Bureau of Fire Protection, and [Philippine] Coast Guard have been deployed,” he said on Twitter a few hours before Egay’s landfall.
Marcos reported that electricity had been restored in 93.53 percent of the towns affected by Egay.
He said the government was attending to the needs of 38,991 families affected by the typhoon and the intensified “habagat” or southwest monsoon across eight regions.
Malacañang said Marcos instructed Social Welfare Secretary Rex Gatchalian on Wednesday to “continuously coordinate” with local chief executives and to ensure that the national government could augment resources should the local government units run out of supplies.
In its Wednesday bulletin, the state weather bureau warned the public of “violent and life-threatening” conditions in parts of northern Luzon, with Egay packing maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometers per hour (kph) and gusts of up to 240 kph.
If it continues to move northwestward at 10 kph, Egay is predicted to leave the country’s area of responsibility by Thursday morning.
State of calamity
Close to 7,000 families, or 22,000 people, were displaced in Ilocos and Cagayan Valley regions as a result of floods and landslides, according to the Office of Civil Defense and various reports from local DRRMOs.
Data showed that more than 3,580 families or 12,000 people were forced to stay in evacuation centers in the two regions, which bore the brunt of the devastation.
Ilocos Norte was declared in a state of calamity on Wednesday.
During a special session, the provincial board approved Resolution No. 2023-07-173 allowing officials to tap local government’s Quick Response Fund to bring immediate relief to affected residents.
Assessment of damage to infrastructure, agriculture, and properties was ongoing, but provincial board member Franklin Respicio said that so far, “hundreds of millions of pesos worth of damages to agriculture, infrastructure and other properties, including a number of residents were rendered homeless” because of Egay.
Power outages affected large parts of the province while communication signals were intermittent.
The northern portion of the province remains under Signal No. 4 while the rest is under Signal No. 3.
In Baguio City, a taxi driver and a car wash attendant were rescued from a landslide that buried a shanty within the compound of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center at 8 a.m. on Wednesday.
The two men sustained minor injuries and were treated at the hospital, police said.
In Ilocos Norte, a man from the capital city of Laoag was saved from raging floodwaters after the Padsan River overflowed. The man had been trying to save his livestock from being swept by the water.
The Benguet Electric Cooperative said all lines were down in its service areas. Only the Mankayan substation in Benguet province remained with power.
Benguet Rep. Eric Yap on Wednesday appealed to the government to send immediate aid to residents of Benguet.
Citing multiple unofficial reports of dead or missing victims, he said: “Benguet is in dire need of help… We need forces for intensified operations for disaster rescue and relief.”