‘Florita’ exits, leaves swathe of damage in northern Luzon

Severe tropical storm “Florita” left the Philippine area of responsibility Wednesday, leaving in its wake an estimated P10 million worth of damage and displacing 1,344 families, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported Wednesday.

FLORITA’S WAKE. In the National Capital Region, workers from the Manila Department of Public Services and Metro Manila Development Authority remove garbage along the Manila Bay Dolomite Beach while Marikina City, firemen wash off mud at the Marikina River Park. Manny Palmero

In its latest situation report, the agency said the figure is equivalent to 4,646 individuals from 60 barangays in the Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, and Cordillera regions.

The NDRRMC noted that about 956 families are sheltered in 19 evacuation centers while the rest are staying with relatives and friends.

It also reported that 290 families or 1,013 persons from Ilocos and Cordillera were pre-emptively evacuated.

About P915,176.05 worth of food and non-food assistance has been provided to areas affected by Florita in Ilocos, Bicol, and Cordillera.

The NDRRMC has yet to release reports on damage to agriculture, infrastructures, and housing.

As this developed, the Philippine Army said its reservists in Cagayan Valley have joined the repacking and hauling of relief items to be distributed to families affected by the storm at the regional social welfare office warehouse in Barangay Ugac Sur, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.

Army units in the region have mobilized humanitarian assistance and disaster response teams to help families affected by floods or landslides due to the onslaught of Florita.

Meanwhile, three roads are closed to traffic in Cordillera and Cagayan Valley due to the effects of Florita.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) – Bureau of Maintenance said two national roads in Apayao and Mountain province and one in Isabela are not accessible to vehicles as of 6 a.m. Wednesday.

The roads in Cordillera are the Claveria-Calanasan-Kabugao Road section in Namaltugan, Calanasan, Apayao due to road cut and soil collapse; and the Mountain Province-Ilocos Sur Road via Tue, Beto Section, Tue, Tadian, Mountain Province due to rock collapse.

Also closed to all types of vehicles is the Cabagan-Sta. Maria Road, Cabagan Overflow Bridge in Isabela due to high water elevation.

The Luna-Bangar Road in La Union was flooded and not passable to light vehicles.

The DPWH’s quick response teams have already installed warning signs and barricades along affected sections.

Clearing operations will resume once the weather is deemed safe for maintenance teams.

In Ilocos Norte, the Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) said the biggest damage was to infrastructure, which included an old bridge in Barangay Badio that collapsed Monday afternoon due to raging waters.

Other ongoing flood control projects and a temporary bridge in Nagrebcan, San Nicolas town were also washed out.

“The damage could have been worse. We are thankful the storm did not directly hit us,” said Marcel Tabije, head of the PDRRMC.

FLORITA’S WAKE. In Isabela province, a farmer inspects her damaged corn plantation in Tumauini town after the onslaught of Severe Tropical Storm ‘Florita’ on Wednesday, August 24, 2022. AFP

The Department of Agriculture initially reported about P3.01 million in damage, affecting 310 farmers in the province. This translates to 220 metric tons of lost production volume covering 628 hectares of rice and other high-value crops.

The DA said additional damage and losses are expected in areas affected by Florita, pending an ongoing assessment and field validation.

Except for the reported drowning of two cows, two carabaos, and five pigs in Batac City and in the towns of Pinili and Burgos during a flash flood, no other typhoon-related casualty was reported in the province.

With a total of 827 affected families in the province, Provincial Social Welfare and Development officer Lilian Rin said they have prepared more than enough food packs for relief operations.

Before the storm made landfall in Maconacon, Isabela on Tuesday, a pre-emptive evacuation was conducted in Badoc town to ensure that those living in areas highly susceptible to flooding and rain-induced landslides were transferred to evacuation centers.

Despite Florita’s exit, the southwest monsoon is expected to continue bringing rains over the western sections of Luzon.

Gusts reaching strong breeze to near gale-force strength may still be experienced especially in the coastal and mountainous areas over Mimaropa, Cavite, Quezon, Metro Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Aurora, Ilocos Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, and Cagayan Valley.

The center of Florita was estimated at 490 km west of Calayan, Cagayan, or outside the Philippine area of responsibility.

It was moving west northwestward at 25 km/h, packing maximum sustained winds of 100 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 125 km/h.

FLORITA’S WAKE. In the National Capital Region, workers from the Manila Department of Public Services and Metro Manila Development Authority remove garbage along the Manila Bay Dolomite Beach. Norman Cruz

In other developments:

• The Department of Energy (DOE) announced Wednesday that 378 out of 405 municipalities whose power supply was affected by Florita are now restored, with 17 partially restored and 10 still for restoration, based on a report submitted by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) at 11 a.m. on Aug. 4. Electric cooperatives with total or partial power interruption and ongoing restoration include Cagayan Electric Cooperative I and II and Isabela Electric Cooperative II. DOE said all power generation plants in the affected areas connected to the grid are under normal operations.

• The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced on Wednesday the Pasig Ferry River Station (PRFS) has resumed its operation following a day suspension on Tuesday due to bad weather. MMDA spokesman Crisanto Saruca Jr. said the agency is offering free rides to commuters of the ferry, provided they are vaccinated against COVID-19.

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