BAGUIO CITY – Supertyphoon Lawin and Typhoon Karen successively battered the Cordillera within span of less than one week that left dozens of people dead, thousands homeless, the occurrence of regionwide blackout and the closure of more or less fifty national, city, provincial and municipal roads depriving people of inter-regional mobility for over a week.
While the region was able to realize zero casualty during the onslaught of Typhoon Karen last October 15-16, the onslaught of Supertyphoon Lawin late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning resulted to the death of 15 people, including a 20-day old child, injuring another and one person missing as well as heavy damage to the region’s agriculture and infrastructure.
All of the fatalities were caused by landslides that buried the houses of the victims while the lone missing person due to the onslaught of Supertyphoon Lawin was reportedly swept away by the rampaging waters of the river in Hungduan, Ifugao.
Three provinces in the region were able to be included in the history books as Tropical Cyclone Signal No. 5, the highest among the storm warning signals, was hoisted over Apayao, A bra, Kalinga at the height of the onslaught of Lawin while Tropical Storm Signal No. 4 was hoisted over Mountain Province and Ifugao. Tropical Signal No. 3 was hoisted over Baguio City and Benguet during the wrath of the strongest weather disturbance that visited the region for over decades.
Because of the impact of the super typhoon to the province’s agriculture, infrastructure and to the local residents, the provincial board passed Resolution No. 85, series of 2016 declaring Apayao under a state of calamity to access all kinds of support to allow the full recovery of the province from the damages it sustained.
Further, the Kalinga provincial board met Friday and found that the province was able to meet the criteria for the declaration of the province under a state of calamity, thus, the resolution is being crafted and ready for release later.
In Hungduan, Ifugao, two teenagers died after their house was buried by a landslide Thursday dawn while another 42-year old man was carried away by the rampaging waters of the river in their place.
Andrew Alex Uy, regional director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in the Cordillera, identified the fatalities as Junior Chawagan, 16 and Jeramil Alfaro, 17, while the reported missing person was named as Larry Duyapat, all residents of the said municipality.
In the capital town of La Trinidad, Benguet, two construction workers died after they were buried inside their camp at the height of the wrath of Lawin while theiy were sleeping at Lamtang, Puguis Thursday.
The fatalities were named as Edgar Genese, 40, married and Jonie Borja, 35, married, both natives of Pangasinan and construction workers in the said place.
In Kibungan, Benguet, three persons, including a 20-day old baby, died after their houses were buried by separate landslides that were triggered by the supertyphoon.
The fatalities were named as Joshua Hella, 19 and Jessie Hella, 28, both natives of Bulod, Bina-ay, Negros Occidental and temporarily living at Lung-ayan, Sagpat and John Carlos Hatap, 20 days old, and a resident of Sabdang, Sagpat.
In Buguias, Arsenio Lantaen, 65, married, farmer and a native of Bakun, Benguet who is temporarily residing at Abatan, Buguias, Benguet died after his house was buried by a landslide shortly before noon Thursday.
Mountain Province was isolated the rest of the Cordillera after the major roads linking the region, particularly the Halsema highway, Bontoc-Banaue road, Mountain Province-Ilocos Sur road, Mountain Province-Cagayan road via Enrile and the Bontoc-Tabuk road, were closed to traffic because of series of landslides along the stretch of the said roads that needs several days to be cleared from the debris.
Six people were reported to have died in Kalinga while a fatality was reported in Abra during the onslaught of the strongest typhoon that struck the region.
Some 4, families in the different parts of the region were evacuated to safer grounds and evacuation centers after their lives were put to threat by the heavy rains and strong winds that reached over 315 kilometers per hour gustiness of the typhoon.
Assessment and evaluation of the damages of the two weather disturbances are now being done by concerned agencies on the region’s agriculture and infrastructure to ascertain the cost of damages that it brought to the source of livelihood of the people.