ILIANG TOLL: 33 DEAD, HIGHWAYS CLOSED, TOWNS FLOODED
Manila, Oct. 16, 1998 - Television news reports this morning tallied 33 dead in Cordillera alone from the wrath of supertyphoon Iliang (international name Zeb) which lashed through Northern Luzon Wednesday night and Thursday.
The death toll is expected to climb as reports start coming in today following restoration of power and communications facilities in many provinces in Regions One and Two (Ilocos, Mountain Provinces and Cagayan Valley) and he northern portions of Bicol.
Hundreds of millions of pesos worth of crops were washed away by rampaging floodwater as rivers swelled, and entire towns were submerged when two dams overflowed.
Ambuclao and Binga dams in Itogon, Benguet, could not contain the rainwater brought by the storm and let the excess water loose on the towns of San Fabian, Mangaldan and Manaoag in Pangasinan.
Mudslides isolated the northeastern portions of Luzon when mudslides closed the Dalton Pass- Sta. Fe Highway.
Thousands of families were evacuated in Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, la Union, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Viscaya and Abra.
Defense Secretary Orlando Mercado, concurrent chairman of the National Disaster Coordinating Council, recommended that att least six provinces and the entire Cordillera Autonomous Region be placed under a state of calamity. The provinces concerned are: Isabela, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan.
He also appealed to the President to allow the release of P500-million mandatory reserves to augment the calamity funds.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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