Flooding, landslides claim 35 lives, displace thousands since start of the year 

SCHOOL children wait on one side of a flooded road in Baao, Camarines Sur. — NDRRMC 

THE DEATH toll from widespread flooding and landslides caused by continuous rains largely in central and southern parts of the Philippines has risen to 35, according to the country’s disaster management agency. 

Nineteen of the reported deaths have already been validated, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said in a situation report as of Jan. 22.  

NDRRMC said 475,680 families or about 1.94 million people across 13 of the country’s 17 regions have been affected by the unusual downpours at this time of the year.   

Almost 122,000 people have been displaced after being forced to leave their homes, 91,118 of whom were still staying in evacuation centers as of Jan. 22.  

Affected regions include Cagayan Valley; Central Luzon; Calabarzon; Mimaropa; Bicol; Western, Central, and Eastern Visayas; Zamboanga Peninsula; Northern Mindanao; Davao; and Soccsksargen.  

Damage to agriculture now stands at P777.58 million, affecting over 34,800 farmers and fisherfolk, the disaster council said. Infrastructure damage was estimated at P280.3 million.  

Seventeen cities and towns in three provinces have been placed under a state of calamity, according to the report.  

The Philippines experiences an average of 20 tropical cyclones every year, at least eight of which are destructive.   

No typhoon has entered the country so far this year, but the northeast monsoon and successive low pressure areas (LPAs) have been bringing rains. 

The current LPA was located 300 kilometers southeast of Davao City as of 10 a.m. Monday, according to state weather agency PAGASA.   

It was not expected to intensify into a tropical depression within the next 48 hours, but would bring light to moderate and occasionally heavy rains in the provinces of Bohol, Camiguin, Misamis Oriental, Sarangani, South Cotabato, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.  

Rains are also expected in the regions of Eastern Visayas, Davao, and Caraga.   

PAGASA again warned against potential flooding and landslides in areas identified in hazard maps as high-risk, especially those that have already been inundated in the past weeks. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza  

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