TYPHOON 'GLENDA' PUMMELS LUZON

JULY 17 --The first strong typhoon of the rainy season threw the capital into darkness, shut down businesses, forced the evacuation of thousands and killed more than a dozen people across the country. Typhoon Glenda (international name Rammasun) battered Metro Manila and several provinces in Central and Southern Luzon with powerful winds and heavy rain, uprooting trees, cutting communication lines and leaving wide areas without power before exiting toward the West Philippine Sea yesterday. Mario Palafox, senior weather forecaster of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said the typhoon slightly changed course yesterday morning, heading in a more westerly direction. Had it moved northwest, Metro Manila would have received the brunt of its fury. The death count varies, with estimates as high as 18. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), in a meeting with President Aquino in the afternoon, reported only seven fatalities, six injured and one missing.

Chief weather forecaster Rene Paciente said they were closely monitoring a new low-pressure area some 1,090 kilometers east of the Visayas. PAGASA lowered the storm signal in areas affected by the typhoon. Signal no. 1 remained hoisted over Laguna, Batangas, northern part of Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, Zambales, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bataan, Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, Lubang Island, Pangasinan and Metro Manila as of 5 p.m. Signal no. 2 was still raised over La Union, Benguet, Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, Southern Aurora, northern Quezon including Polillo Islands, Laguna, Batangas and northern Occidental and Oriental Mindoro. As of 4 p.m. yesterday, the eye of Glenda was spotted over the West Philippine Sea at 160 kilometers west of Zambales with maximum sustained winds of 140 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 170 kph. It was forecast to move west northwest at 24 kph. Glenda was the strongest typhoon to make landfall in the Philippines so far this year.  * READ MORE....

ALSO Updated: ‘Glenda’ deaths inching toward 100 

JULY 21 --The official death toll from Typhoon Glenda could reach 100 with 94 listed dead and six still missing, mostly in the Southern Tagalog and Calabarzon regions, authorities said on Sunday. Reports of fatalities continued to come in as repair men struggled to restore electricity to hundreds of thousands of households still without power since the storm hit last week. The typhoon, known internationally as Rammasun (god of thunder in Thai), has since blown into southern China where it has killed 17 people. The majority of the Filipino fatalities were killed by falling debris and trees while many of the missing were on boats that went out to sea despite the storm, said Mina Marasigan, spokesperson of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
As a result, the head of Calabarzon’s disaster management agency asked national disaster officials to include people who live near big trees and big structures in the preemptive evacuation plan the next time a typhoon strikes.
At present, only those who live in coastal and low-lying communities are ordered to evacuate during extreme weather. Hit by trees, walls, roofs  --Most of the 67 people who were killed and 107 who were hurt in Calabarzon perished or were injured after being hit by uprooted trees, collapsed walls, falling roofs and debris. Others died from either drowning, landslides or heart attacks.

“Those living near large structures like billboards, walls, electric and communication posts, as well as trees, should also be warned and encouraged to evacuate,” Calabarzon Regional Risk Reduction and Management Council Director Vicente Tomazar said in his latest report to the disaster council. 6 more killed, 317 hurt As of Sunday, at least six more people were feared dead while at least 317 others were reported hurt from Glenda’s onslaught in Luzon and parts of the Visayas, authorities said. Of the confirmed typhoon casualties so far, 67 were from the Calabarzon provinces, which include Quezon (26 dead), Laguna (17), Batangas (13), Cavite (8) and Rizal (5). Other casualties were from Central Luzon (8 dead), Bicol (6), Mimaropa and Eastern Visayas (5 each), Metro Manila (2) and Western Visayas (1). Eastern Visayas reported the biggest number of injuries with at least 122 persons reported hurt, followed by Calabarzon with 107 persons treated for injuries sustained during the typhoon. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Millions without power 

JULY 17 --PHOTO: Residents evacuate their homes in Dasmariñas, Cavite as Typhoon Glenda barreled across Metro Manila and nearby provinces yesterday. Typhoon Glenda knocked out power starting late Tuesday across large swaths of Luzon and the Visayas. As of 4:30 p.m. yesterday, about 4.5 million customers of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), representing 82 percent of its franchise area in Luzon, remained without power. The company said it was difficult to say when power would be restored, as it must first assess the extent of damage, which could be done only after the rains subsided around noon. As early as Tuesday night, the typhoon’s damage to poles and transmission lines left 90 percent of Meralco’s franchise areas without electricity. “The transmission lines of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines in the Southern Luzon grid remain to be out. Due to said outages of vital NGCP transmission lines, generation plants in the south are unable to deliver power,” Meralco said in its advisory.

NGCP, the country’s grid operator, said it was working overtime to restore the toppled lines. “We are working on immediately restoring our feeders into Meralco but actual return of power to the consumers depends on the status of their lines, too,” NGCP spokesperson Cynthia Alabanza said. “We are targeting to restore 60 percent of power in Metro Manila before the end of the day. Target dates for the rest of the areas will follow once we have more information,” Energy Secretary Carlos Petilla added. With the total outage of supply from the south, Meralco said efforts to convey power from the northern grid are being undertaken. The hardest hit franchise areas of Meralco include the Calabarzon region, specifically the areas of Laguna, Cavite, Quezon and parts of Rizal such as Binangonan, Morong, Tanay, Pililia and Jala-jala. “Restoration time depends on several factors, including how soon the affected transmission facilities will be operational, the volume of debris that has to be cleared in affected areas, and the extent of damage to Meralco’s own distribution facilities, among others,” Meralco said in its advisory. Meralco appealed for the public’s understanding as it continues restoration efforts. It said that it would work to bring power back to affected areas and customers at “the soonest possible time.”  * READ MORE...

ALSO: EU to assist families affected by typhoon 

JULY 17 --The European Union is ready to assist families affected by Typhoon Glenda. EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux said a team of humanitarian aid officers from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) in Manila is currently monitoring the situation and assessing the damage of Typhoon Glenda. “The European Union stands ready to assist families affected by Typhoon Glenda,” Ledoux said in a statement. The ambassador expressed solidarity with the Filipino people in the calamity. Last month, the EU announced a 30 million-euro grant for the Philippine government in a further boost to the EU’s reconstruction assistance that began in areas hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda last year. EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva announced during her visit to the Philippines on June 5 the 30 million-euro grant. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Glenda death toll reaches 77

JULY 20 --The number of casualties left by Typhoon Glenda that hit the country early last week soared to 77, with 220 injured and five still missing, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported yesterday. The casualty figure is expected to increase further when the NDRRMC receives other field reports that were hampered by downed communication lines. On top of the casualties left by Glenda, the NDRRMC also reported that as of yesterday, 330,433 families or more than 1.6 million individuals from Northern and Central Luzon, Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog, Bicol and Eastern Visayas regions were affected. NDRRMC executive director and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) administrator Alexander Pama said of the affected families, 97,055 or 518,764 persons were displaced and are now staying at 1,264 government-run evacuation centers. A total of 17 roads and three bridges in Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Bicol and in the Cordillera Autonomous Region incurred major damage and as of yesterday remained closed to traffic. Damage to infrastructure and agriculture from the six regions has been estimated at P5.8 billion – P1.050 billion of infrastructure and P4.810 billion in destroyed rice, corn, high value cash crops, livestock and agriculture facilities. Casualties * READ MORE...

ALSO: Glenda barely improves Pantabangan Dam’s water level 

JULY 20 --SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Philippines – Typhoon Glenda has increased the water level in Pantabangan Dam by less than a meter, which was not sufficient to resume power generation by the First Gen Hydro Power Corp. (FGHPC). Records showed the water level in Pantabangan Dam rose from 176.01 meters on Tuesday to 176.93 meters on Wednesday. Two weeks ago, FGHPC stopped generating electricity from the dam, after the water level dropped to 177 meters, the critical level for power generation. Josephine Salazar, operations manager of the National Irrigation Administration-Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation System, said they have continued releasing water at 70 cubic meters per second, as planting season within its service area has begun. Salazar said a cloud seeding operation was conducted in Pantabangan reservoir last Friday and Monday to increase the water level. Meanwhile, Nueva Ecija has experienced four-hour power outage on Friday as part of a rotating blackout being implemented by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines. Ernest Vidal, NGCP’s corporate regional communication officer, said as of 11:55 a.m. the available power capability in Luzon grid was 4,745 megawatt (MW), which is much lower than the 5,908 MW demand. “To allocate the available power and integrity of the entire grid, load curtailment is being implemented among distribution utility grid users,” Vidal said. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: New Typhoon ‘Henry’ brings rains over Bicol, Visayas

JULY 20 --MANILA, Philippines – Residents of Bicol and Visayas should expect a rainy Sunday afternoon caused by typhoon “Henry,” the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said. “Henry is expected to bring moderate to occasionally heavy rains and thunderstorms over Eastern Visayas, Bicol Region, Dinagat and Siargao Islands, and over the province of Surigao Del Norte,” the latest weather bulletin from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said. Pagasa added that Henry has slowed but kept its course and strength while moving toward extreme northern Luzon. The eye of the storm was located 420 km east northeast of Borongan, Eastern Samar as of 10 a.m. Sunday. Henry, which has maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 150 kph, is expected to move northwest at 13 kph. It is projected to reach 440 kilometers northeast of Virac, Catanduanes by Monday morning. Authorities warned residents of affected areas to be alert due to the possibility of flash floods and landslides. Malacañang on Sunday assured the public that the government is doing everything to help cities and provinces affected by typhoon “Glenda,” which left almost 100 people dead, to get back on their feet. Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the government had already started repairing damaged public infrastructure so services and trade could be resumed, especially in smaller towns. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Lucena Governor gets no reply to calls, texts made to President 

LUCENA CITY—Telephone calls and text messages meant to seek help and made by the governor of Quezon province, hardest hit by Typhoon “Glenda,” to President Benigno Aquino went unanswered as the storm tore through the province, the governor said yesterday.
Gov. David Suarez, whose father is closely allied with now detained former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, said he tried to call Mr. Aquino on his mobile phone and sent text messages to the President since Tuesday but the calls went unanswered and no replies were sent to him. Suarez said he wanted to personally talk with the President to appeal for help for the province, which bore the brunt of Glenda. Among the things he wanted to discuss with Mr. Aquino, the governor said, was the possibility of using portions of the controversial coconut levy funds for programs to help Quezon get back on its feet.

The government is keeping up to P72 billion of funds forcibly collected from coconut farmers, most of them from Quezon, during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. The Supreme Court has ruled the funds to be public, but farmers are demanding the return of the money to them. Suarez said he was able to contact Interior Secretary Mar Roxas after failing to get in touch with Mr. Aquino. Roxas pledged to help, Suarez said. At least 25 people are dead and hundreds of millions of pesos worth of infrastructure, crops and property were destroyed in Quezon as Glenda swept across the province. According to Suarez, the calamity funds of the province and its towns would not be sufficient to rebuild or repair structures destroyed or damaged by Glenda. * READ MORE...

(ALSO) ‘Glenda’ casualties: Antique houses 

UNISAN, Quezon: JULY 20 --Century-old structures that withstood wars damaged by 150-kph winds. PHOTO: THE SPANISH-ERA house of Francisco de Jesus Sr. damaged by strong winds brought by Typhoon “Glenda” to Unisan town, Quezon province. The old wooden sections and rusty window grills of popular heritage houses in this town had survived wars and the natural elements. Not Typhoon “Glenda” that struck the province from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning with winds of up to 150 kilometers per hour. Mayor Nonato Puache told the Inquirer that town officials have counted at least 20 houses damaged by Glenda. Puache said the town, which residents claim is the oldest municipality in the country having been established in 1521, the same year Ferdinand Magellan landed on the Philippines, had more than 30 heritage houses, all built during the Spanish colonial period. The mayor said the town’s Spanish-era municipal hall, which could be transformed into a museum, was also damaged by the storm. Its wooden walls were ripped apart. The building has not been used since the local government transferred to a new town hall in 2004. The antique houses, most of which are made of hardwood and concrete, were built by the town’s rich and influential clans and are now owned by descendants of the original owners. One of the old houses on Quezon Avenue that suffered major damage was built by Francisco de Jesus Sr. sometime in the 1800s. * READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:
 
Glenda pummels Luzon
 

Students of Bicol University in Legazpi City gather near a 105-year-old tree that was uprooted during the onslaught of Typhoon Glenda yesterday. CET DEMATERA

MANILA, JULY 21, 2014 (PHILSTAR) JULY 17, 2014 By Helen Flores - The first strong typhoon of the rainy season threw the capital into darkness, shut down businesses, forced the evacuation of thousands and killed more than a dozen people across the country.

Typhoon Glenda (international name Rammasun) battered Metro Manila and several provinces in Central and Southern Luzon with powerful winds and heavy rain, uprooting trees, cutting communication lines and leaving wide areas without power before exiting toward the West Philippine Sea yesterday.

Mario Palafox, senior weather forecaster of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said the typhoon slightly changed course yesterday morning, heading in a more westerly direction.

Had it moved northwest, Metro Manila would have received the brunt of its fury.

The death count varies, with estimates as high as 18. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), in a meeting with President Aquino in the afternoon, reported only seven fatalities, six injured and one missing.

Chief weather forecaster Rene Paciente said they were closely monitoring a new low-pressure area some 1,090 kilometers east of the Visayas.

PAGASA lowered the storm signal in areas affected by the typhoon. Signal no. 1 remained hoisted over Laguna, Batangas, northern part of Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, Zambales, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bataan, Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, Lubang Island, Pangasinan and Metro Manila as of 5 p.m.

Signal no. 2 was still raised over La Union, Benguet, Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, Southern Aurora, northern Quezon including Polillo Islands, Laguna, Batangas and northern Occidental and Oriental Mindoro.

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, the eye of Glenda was spotted over the West Philippine Sea at 160 kilometers west of Zambales with maximum sustained winds of 140 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 170 kph. It was forecast to move west northwest at 24 kph.

Glenda was the strongest typhoon to make landfall in the Philippines so far this year.

* The closest the eye got to Manila was about 25 kilometers south of the city at around 7. a.m., Palafox said.

Glenda, packing winds of 150 kph and gustiness of up to 185 kph, passed Manila Bay at 8 a.m. yesterday before heading to Bataan.

Glenda also crossed Subic, Zambales before moving to the West Philippine Sea at noon.

PAGASA said maintenance checkups are being undertaken on the Doppler radars in Subic and Tagaytay after Glenda passed these areas.

Paciente said residents in areas affected by Glenda can expect improved weather today.

Glenda will be at 630 km west of Dagupan City or outside the Philippine area of responsibility this afternoon.

Paciente said the low-pressure area was still far from the Philippine area of responsibility and it was too early to predict if it would intensify into a cyclone and hit the country. He also said the new weather disturbance will not affect Glenda’s movement.

He also ruled out the possibility of Glenda making a U-turn and hitting the country again.

The weather agency, meanwhile, continued to warn operators of fishing boats and other small seacraft not to venture out to the western seaboard of Luzon due to big waves generated by the typhoon.

Fatalities

There were 15 reported fatalities in the Calabarzon region, two in Metro Manila and one each from Bulacan and Occidental Mindoro.

Fire volunteer John Patrick Diaz, 20, and Jackelyn Sumampong were both pinned under walls that collapsed in Pasig City and Valenzuela City, respectively, said Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino.

Vicente Tomazar, head of disaster risk reduction and management council in Region 4A, identified five of the fatalities as Felizardo Ramos, 70; Restituto Tolentino, 60; Angelica Garinio, 60, Butch Ranin, 58 and 11-month-old Reynce Benedict Laborada.

In Lucena, Quezon, Nenita Artificio, 48, and her children Arlene, 21, and Adrian, 8, died when a firewall collapsed on them at the height of the typhoon.

Three other fatalities in Quezon were identified as Rodel de Luna, John Paulo Mendez, 7, and an infant.

In Bulacan, 49-year-old Reynaldo Meneses was crushed to death when an acacia tree fell on his store in Plaridel town.

Angelica Peral of Cainta was also crushed by a falling acacia tree.

In Occidental Mindoro, a 17-year-old boy identified as Jaymak Sison drowned in Magsaysay town, according a local social welfare officer.

Tales of survival

“I thought I was going to die. I went out to look for gasoline in case we needed to evacuate, but it was a mistake,” said tricycle driver Pedro Rojas, 35, as he nursed a cut in the head while sheltering at a town hall on the outskirts of Manila.

“My tricycle rolled over twice after I slammed into sheets of rain. It was like hitting a wall... huge tin roofings were flying everywhere,” he said in Filipino.

The winds also tore down shanty homes in slum areas where hundreds of thousands of people live along Manila Bay.

“Our house was destroyed and we lost many of our belongings,” housewife Dayang Bansuan said as she rested in a school that had been turned into an evacuation center for people living in the coastal Manila slums.

“We fled our home just before dawn when the water started rising up to our ankles. I was really frightened, they (neighbors) were saying the winds were getting stronger. They were telling us to evacuate,” she said.

Areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda in November last year felt only light rain and winds on Tuesday and yesterday, but that was enough to send panic through some survivors who are still struggling to rebuild their communities.

“I feared we were going to relive our nightmare, when we had to swim for our lives,” said fisherman Alfredo Cojas, 49, who left his shanty home in Leyte for an evacuation center. “This typhoon wasn’t that strong, but we have a phobia about these things now.”

Clearing work

At Malacañang, President Aquino directed the NDRRMC and its local councils to expedite clearing and recovery operations in typhoon-hit areas.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin reported that as of 4 p.m. yesterday, there were six reported dead, six injured and one missing.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson reported minimal flooding and no major damage to roads, bridges and buildings.

Undersecretary Alexander Pama, NDRRMC executive director, pointed out that the preparedness of local councils, headed by provincial governors and city and town mayors, was a major factor in minimizing casualties and injuries.

Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman also cited the high level of citizen awareness and cooperation in disaster preparedness efforts.

Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said that the department’s price monitoring teams had been fielded to ensure that prices and supplies of prime commodities were stable.

MMDA’s Tolentino reported that clearing and recovery teams were working round the clock to clear major roads of debris and fallen electric posts and cables, Coloma said.

Earlier yesterday, residents in low-lying and mountainous areas were advised to be on alert for flashfloods and landslides.

The regional disaster risk reduction and management council in Region 3 reported that hundreds of families in Central Luzon, particularly those living in flood and landslide prone areas, were evacuated to higher ground for safety.With Evelyn Macairan, Arnell Ozaeta, Michelle Zoleta, Mike Frialde, Juancho Mahusay, Ed Amoroso, Non Alquitran, Jaime Laude, Ric Sapnu, Alexis Romero, Celso Amo, Aurea Calica, Eva Visperas, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Dino Balabo, Ding Cervantes, Danny Dangcalan, Cesar Ramirez, Artemio Dumlao, Jun Elias, Cet Dematera

FROM THE INQUIRER

‘Glenda’ deaths inching toward 100 By Dona Z. Pazzibugan, Julie M. Aurelio |Philippine Daily Inquirer3:31 am | Monday, July 21st, 2014


Firemen remove the branches from a fallen tree which fell on two cars at the onslaught of Typhoon Rammasun (locally known as Glenda) which battered Makati city, east of Manila, Philippines Wednesday, July 16, 2014. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–The official death toll from Typhoon Glenda could reach 100 with 94 listed dead and six still missing, mostly in the Southern Tagalog and Calabarzon regions, authorities said on Sunday.
Reports of fatalities continued to come in as repair men struggled to restore electricity to hundreds of thousands of households still without power since the storm hit last week.
The typhoon, known internationally as Rammasun (god of thunder in Thai), has since blown into southern China where it has killed 17 people.
The majority of the Filipino fatalities were killed by falling debris and trees while many of the missing were on boats that went out to sea despite the storm, said Mina Marasigan, spokesperson of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
As a result, the head of Calabarzon’s disaster management agency asked national disaster officials to include people who live near big trees and big structures in the preemptive evacuation plan the next time a typhoon strikes.
At present, only those who live in coastal and low-lying communities are ordered to evacuate during extreme weather.
Hit by trees, walls, roofs
Most of the 67 people who were killed and 107 who were hurt in Calabarzon perished or were injured after being hit by uprooted trees, collapsed walls, falling roofs and debris. Others died from either drowning, landslides or heart attacks.
“Those living near large structures like billboards, walls, electric and communication posts, as well as trees, should also be warned and encouraged to evacuate,” Calabarzon Regional Risk Reduction and Management Council Director Vicente Tomazar said in his latest report to the disaster council.
6 more killed, 317 hurt
As of Sunday, at least six more people were feared dead while at least 317 others were reported hurt from Glenda’s onslaught in Luzon and parts of the Visayas, authorities said.
Of the confirmed typhoon casualties so far, 67 were from the Calabarzon provinces, which include Quezon (26 dead), Laguna (17), Batangas (13), Cavite (8) and Rizal (5).
Other casualties were from Central Luzon (8 dead), Bicol (6), Mimaropa and Eastern Visayas (5 each), Metro Manila (2) and Western Visayas (1).
Eastern Visayas reported the biggest number of injuries with at least 122 persons reported hurt, followed by Calabarzon with 107 persons treated for injuries sustained during the typhoon.
* The latest official estimate of damage to property in seven affected regions rose to P7.3 billion as of Sunday, according to the NDRRMC.
This did not include the damage to agriculture sustained in Calabarzon.
The damage to rice, corn, high-value crops, livestock and farm facilities has so far reached P6.3 billion in Central Luzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, the Cordillera Administrative Region and Metro Manila.
P1 billion in damage
Meanwhile, the reported damage to infrastructure in Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, Eastern Visayas and Metro Manila has so far reached P1 billion.
Central Luzon and Mimaropa also reported damage to school buildings worth P30 million.
In Calabarzon, at least 106,539 houses were reported destroyed while damage to property has been initially estimated at P661.37 million. Many areas in Quezon, Laguna and Batangas had not yet submitted damage reports due to communication problems.
The Calabarzon disaster agency also asked the national government to come up with an “emergency communications strategy” during typhoons.
“The storm crippled telecommunications facilities, disrupting emergency services,” Tomazar said. Due to this, information at higher levels was limited, he added, saying that disaster authorities in Calabarzon could not even access the weather bureau for forecasts at the height of Glenda’s onslaught.
Tomazar said current disaster management plans and protocols “fell short” since their disaster teams were “overwhelmed” by the extent of Glenda’s destruction.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, however, trumpeted the “low death toll” from the typhoon, saying that this was “an indication that we are becoming better prepared.”
Commending local officials, Roxas said their preemptive efforts, such as evacuating vulnerable residents to safer ground, helped lower Glenda’s casualty rate.
One death too many
While noting that the death count was low, Roxas stressed that “one death is one too many,” as he pressured LGUs to work harder to achieve the zero casualty target of the NDRRMC.
Roxas, also the vice chair for preparedness of the NDRRMC, extended his condolences to the families of the fatalities.
“I extend my sympathies to the families and at the same time, I appeal to the LGUs to improve their disaster risk reduction plans for their communities to be safer and better,” he added.
He cited the Albay provincial government, which did not register any deaths, for its effective disaster risk reduction and management plan, especially in vulnerable areas.
“The disaster readiness of Albay and other LGUs in the Bicol area is something worth emulating,” Roxas said.

Millions without power By Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 17, 2014 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 0


Residents evacuate their homes in Dasmariñas, Cavite as Typhoon Glenda barreled across Metro Manila and nearby provinces yesterday. ERNIE PEÑAREDONDO

MANILA, Philippines - Typhoon Glenda knocked out power starting late Tuesday across large swaths of Luzon and the Visayas.

As of 4:30 p.m. yesterday, about 4.5 million customers of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), representing 82 percent of its franchise area in Luzon, remained without power.

The company said it was difficult to say when power would be restored, as it must first assess the extent of damage, which could be done only after the rains subsided around noon

As early as Tuesday night, the typhoon’s damage to poles and transmission lines left 90 percent of Meralco’s franchise areas without electricity.

“The transmission lines of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines in the Southern Luzon grid remain to be out. Due to said outages of vital NGCP transmission lines, generation plants in the south are unable to deliver power,” Meralco said in its advisory.

NGCP, the country’s grid operator, said it was working overtime to restore the toppled lines.

“We are working on immediately restoring our feeders into Meralco but actual return of power to the consumers depends on the status of their lines, too,” NGCP spokesperson Cynthia Alabanza said.

“We are targeting to restore 60 percent of power in Metro Manila before the end of the day. Target dates for the rest of the areas will follow once we have more information,” Energy Secretary Carlos Petilla added.

With the total outage of supply from the south, Meralco said efforts to convey power from the northern grid are being undertaken.

The hardest hit franchise areas of Meralco include the Calabarzon region, specifically the areas of Laguna, Cavite, Quezon and parts of Rizal such as Binangonan, Morong, Tanay, Pililia and Jala-jala.

“Restoration time depends on several factors, including how soon the affected transmission facilities will be operational, the volume of debris that has to be cleared in affected areas, and the extent of damage to Meralco’s own distribution facilities, among others,” Meralco said in its advisory.

Meralco appealed for the public’s understanding as it continues restoration efforts. It said that it would work to bring power back to affected areas and customers at “the soonest possible time.”

* Downed communications

The widespread power outages caused by Typhoon Glenda also affected the networks of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and Ayala-led Globe Telecom Inc.

PLDT spokesman Ramon Isberto said the facilities of the PLDT Group including Smart and Sun Cellular in Metro Manila as well as Regions 3, 4 and 5 remained intact even during the storm’s fury.

However, widespread commercial power outages have disrupted normal services in various areas, PLDT said.

“Though key installations of both fixed line and mobile networks have standby power, many facilities rely in varying degrees on commercial power. Prolonged outages will thus disrupt normal services once the internal batteries in equipment run out,” Isberto explained.

He added the company has deployed generator sets in strategic areas to keep vital facilities operating and speed up restoration of normal service.

“We wish to assure the public that we are exerting every effort to restore normal operations as soon as possible,” Isberto said.

On the other hand, Globe corporate communications chief Yoly Crisanto said areas heavily affected by Typhoon Glenda experienced service disruption due to commercial power outages.

In its initial network assessment, Crisanto reported mobile services were affected in Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Marinduque, Masbate, Quezon and Sorsogon.

She said the company’s technical personnel are on the ground to do immediate restoration of services.

Crisanto explained cell sites are equipped with alternate power sources such as batteries and generator sets in light of prolonged loss of commercial power.

She pointed out several cellsite antennas have been reportedly damaged by strong winds.

But no major infrastructure damage has been reported, she said.

“Our on-ground technical teams are continuously providing reports and doing site assessments for immediate service recovery,” Crisanto added.

Globe earlier activated regional disaster teams in South Luzon, North Luzon and Metro Manila to also address relief operations and assistance.

Globe is preparing to mobilize libreng tawag (free calls) facilities and relief operations in the typhoon devastated areas.

“We will start putting up libreng tawag centers and relief operations in the affected areas as soon as we get the go signal that it is safe to deploy people there,” Crisanto said.

Meanwhile, power in the province of Nueva Ecija was immediately restored after one hour of interruption due to Typhoon Glenda.

The only problem recorded so far was when power was cut in seven towns and a city in Nueva Ecija and five towns in Aurora when the 69-kilovolt line tripped.

Ernest Vidal, regional communication officer of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, said the power transmission service was restored after an hour in the Nueva Ecija towns of Talavera, General Natividad, Llanera, Bongabon, Gabaldon, Laur, Rizal and Palayan City and in the Aurora towns of Dingalan, San Luis, Maria Aurora, Dipaculao and Baler. – Lawrence Agcaoili, Manny Galvez

EU to assist families affected by typhoon By Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 17, 2014 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - The European Union is ready to assist families affected by Typhoon Glenda.

EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux said a team of humanitarian aid officers from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) in Manila is currently monitoring the situation and assessing the damage of Typhoon Glenda.

“The European Union stands ready to assist families affected by Typhoon Glenda,” Ledoux said in a statement.

The ambassador expressed solidarity with the Filipino people in the calamity.

Last month, the EU announced a 30 million-euro grant for the Philippine government in a further boost to the EU’s reconstruction assistance that began in areas hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda last year.

EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva announced during her visit to the Philippines on June 5 the 30 million-euro grant.

* Georgieva said the grant is a confirmation that the EU will continue to support the recovery and reconstruction process.

EU-funded humanitarian actions have already greatly contributed to meeting the emergency needs of the survivors of the world’s most destructive typhoon ever recorded to have made landfall.

Georgieva said the road to reconstruction is still long.

The new funding came from the European Commission development budget. It is aimed at supporting post-Yolanda reconstruction under the program’s support to the implementation of the country’s universal health care framework through the availability of essential medicine, improved quality of health services, improved health insurance coverage and support to the post-typhoon reconstruction plan of the Philippine government.

Particular attention is being given to the impact of the disaster on the poor and the most vulnerable members of the local population.

Glenda death toll reaches 77 By Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 20, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - The number of casualties left by Typhoon Glenda that hit the country early last week soared to 77, with 220 injured and five still missing, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported yesterday.

The casualty figure is expected to increase further when the NDRRMC receives other field reports that were hampered by downed communication lines.

On top of the casualties left by Glenda, the NDRRMC also reported that as of yesterday, 330,433 families or more than 1.6 million individuals from Northern and Central Luzon, Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog, Bicol and Eastern Visayas regions were affected.

NDRRMC executive director and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) administrator Alexander Pama said of the affected families, 97,055 or 518,764 persons were displaced and are now staying at 1,264 government-run evacuation centers.

A total of 17 roads and three bridges in Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Bicol and in the Cordillera Autonomous Region incurred major damage and as of yesterday remained closed to traffic.

Damage to infrastructure and agriculture from the six regions has been estimated at P5.8 billion – P1.050 billion of infrastructure and P4.810 billion in destroyed rice, corn, high value cash crops, livestock and agriculture facilities.

Casualties

* In an updated report yesterday, NDRRMC said the 77 fatalities came the National Capital Region with two dead; Central Luzon with four; Mimaropa Region-4B (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) with five; Calabarzon Region 4A (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) with 54; Bicol Region with six; Western Visayas with one and Eastern Visayas with five.

The fatalities perished either from drowning, electrocution, were hit by flying debris or pinned down by fallen trees as Glenda battered Eastern Visayas, Southern Luzon, National Capital Region, Central and Northern Luzon since early Tuesday.

Of 220 injured, 15 are from the NCR, two from Cagayan Valley, one from Central Luzon, Calabarzon with 75, Bicol Region with five and Eastern Visayas with 122.

As of yesterday, search and rescue operations continued for the two missing from Quezon and Batangas and one from Marinduque, reportedly swept away by floodwaters.

The two others were from Northern Samar who went fishing despite the stormy weather and have failed to return home.

Help

The United States has provided $150,000 in relief for the typhoon victims in Albay and Sorsogon provinces.

Ambassador Philip Goldberg said the US government stands ready to assist the Philippine authorities in helping affected families bounce back from this tragedy.

“On behalf of the American people, we extend our deepest condolences for the devastation and loss of life caused by Typhoon Glenda,” Goldberg said.– Pia Lee-Brago, Juancho Mahusay

Glenda barely improves Pantabangan Dam’s water level By Ric Sapnu (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 20, 2014 - 12:00am 0 15 googleplus0 0

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Philippines – Typhoon Glenda has increased the water level in Pantabangan Dam by less than a meter, which was not sufficient to resume power generation by the First Gen Hydro Power Corp. (FGHPC).

Records showed the water level in Pantabangan Dam rose from 176.01 meters on Tuesday to 176.93 meters on Wednesday.

Two weeks ago, FGHPC stopped generating electricity from the dam, after the water level dropped to 177 meters, the critical level for power generation.

Josephine Salazar, operations manager of the National Irrigation Administration-Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation System, said they have continued releasing water at 70 cubic meters per second, as planting season within its service area has begun.

Salazar said a cloud seeding operation was conducted in Pantabangan reservoir last Friday and Monday to increase the water level.

Meanwhile, Nueva Ecija has experienced four-hour power outage on Friday as part of a rotating blackout being implemented by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines.

Ernest Vidal, NGCP’s corporate regional communication officer, said as of 11:55 a.m. the available power capability in Luzon grid was 4,745 megawatt (MW), which is much lower than the 5,908 MW demand.

“To allocate the available power and integrity of the entire grid, load curtailment is being implemented among distribution utility grid users,” Vidal said.

FROM THE INQUIRER

‘Henry’ brings rains over Bicol, Visayas By Kristine Angeli Sabillo|INQUIRER.net4:33 pm | Sunday, July 20th, 2014


Pagasa satellite image as of 4:00 PM, Sunday, July 20, 2014

MANILA, Philippines – Residents of Bicol and Visayas should expect a rainy Sunday afternoon caused by typhoon “Henry,” the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.

“Henry is expected to bring moderate to occasionally heavy rains and thunderstorms over Eastern Visayas, Bicol Region, Dinagat and Siargao Islands, and over the province of Surigao Del Norte,” the latest weather bulletin from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said.

Pagasa added that Henry has slowed but kept its course and strength while moving toward extreme northern Luzon.
The eye of the storm was located 420 km east northeast of Borongan, Eastern Samar as of 10 a.m. Sunday.

Henry, which has maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 150 kph, is expected to move northwest at 13 kph.

It is projected to reach 440 kilometers northeast of Virac, Catanduanes by Monday morning.

Authorities warned residents of affected areas to be alert due to the possibility of flash floods and landslides.

Malacañang on Sunday assured the public that the government is doing everything to help cities and provinces affected by typhoon “Glenda,” which left almost 100 people dead, to get back on their feet.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the government had already started repairing damaged public infrastructure so services and trade could be resumed, especially in smaller towns.

REGIONS

Governor gets no reply to calls, texts made to President
By Delfin T. Mallari Jr. |Inquirer Southern Luzon12:34 am | Sunday, July 20th, 2014


THE RUSH to repair or rebuild homes in Lucena City following the onslaught of Typhoon “Glenda” is evident in the brisk sale of coconut lumber in many shops

LUCENA CITY—Telephone calls and text messages meant to seek help and made by the governor of Quezon province, hardest hit by Typhoon “Glenda,” to President Benigno Aquino went unanswered as the storm tore through the province, the governor said yesterday.

Gov. David Suarez, whose father is closely allied with now detained former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, said he tried to call Mr. Aquino on his mobile phone and sent text messages to the President since Tuesday but the calls went unanswered and no replies were sent to him.

Suarez said he wanted to personally talk with the President to appeal for help for the province, which bore the brunt of Glenda.

Among the things he wanted to discuss with Mr. Aquino, the governor said, was the possibility of using portions of the controversial coconut levy funds for programs to help Quezon get back on its feet.

The government is keeping up to P72 billion of funds forcibly collected from coconut farmers, most of them from Quezon, during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. The Supreme Court has ruled the funds to be public, but farmers are demanding the return of the money to them.

Suarez said he was able to contact Interior Secretary Mar Roxas after failing to get in touch with Mr. Aquino. Roxas pledged to help, Suarez said.

At least 25 people are dead and hundreds of millions of pesos worth of infrastructure, crops and property were destroyed in Quezon as Glenda swept across the province.

According to Suarez, the calamity funds of the province and its towns would not be sufficient to rebuild or repair structures destroyed or damaged by Glenda.

* “We need the intervention of the national government,” Suarez said.

When he was able to contact Roxas, Suarez said he asked the interior secretary to help put the national government in charge of relief efforts for the people of Quezon who have lost homes and livelihood.

In a message to the people of Quezon, Suarez said the destruction left by Glenda was an opportunity for the province’s residents to unite and “build a better province.”

“We will plant more trees on our shores, on our forest, on every available space and protect our environment not only for our safety and security but also for the next generation,” Suarez said.

Mayor Nonato Puache of Unisan town, the hardest-hit town in the province, said: “During this trying times for our place and our people, we will welcome any assistance from the national government even if it’s from the DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program).”

Suarez said the agriculture sector in the province suffered damage worth an estimated P350 million, not including damage on at least 250,000 hectares of coconut farms.

Glenda unleashed its wrath on Quezon province for at least 10 hours, sweeping through its 31 towns.
At least 388,000 people were hit by the storm. At least 12,515 houses were destroyed, according to Governor Suarez.

‘Glenda’ casualties: Antique houses By Delfin T. Mallari Jr. |Inquirer Southern Luzon12:35 am | Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Century-old structures that withstood wars damaged by 150-kph winds
 


THE SPANISH-ERA house of Francisco de Jesus Sr. damaged by strong winds brought by Typhoon “Glenda” to Unisan town, Quezon province. DELFIN T. MALLARI JR./INQUIRER SOUTHERN LUZON

UNISAN, Quezon—The old wooden sections and rusty window grills of popular heritage houses in this town had survived wars and the natural elements.

Not Typhoon “Glenda” that struck the province from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning with winds of up to 150 kilometers per hour.

Mayor Nonato Puache told the Inquirer that town officials have counted at least 20 houses damaged by Glenda.

Puache said the town, which residents claim is the oldest municipality in the country having been established in 1521, the same year Ferdinand Magellan landed on the Philippines, had more than 30 heritage houses, all built during the Spanish colonial period.

The mayor said the town’s Spanish-era municipal hall, which could be transformed into a museum, was also damaged by the storm. Its wooden walls were ripped apart. The building has not been used since the local government transferred to a new town hall in 2004.

The antique houses, most of which are made of hardwood and concrete, were built by the town’s rich and influential clans and are now owned by descendants of the original owners.

One of the old houses on Quezon Avenue that suffered major damage was built by Francisco de Jesus Sr. sometime in the 1800s.

* Its wooden walls on the front part of its second floor were torn by Glenda’s howling winds, leaving the interior exposed. Its galvanized iron roof was detached from its wooden beams.

Virgie Alas, the house caretaker and a distant relative of the owner, said the children of the original owner, who are all living in Manila, had yet to be informed of what happened to their ancestral home.

She said the owner’s son, an old and sickly bachelor, was the only one left residing in the rundown ancestral house.
Unisan Councilor John Carillo, present resident of the stately Maxino-Carillo mansion just a few corners away from the De Jesus home, said his bedroom also suffered damage from the typhoon.

Most of the antique houses suffered varying damages on roofs and walls.

Puache said the local government had no funds to help owners repair and restore their heritage homes.

“The owners have to shoulder the cost of the repair especially during this time when thousands of my constituents also became victims of Typhoon Glenda,” he said.

Puache said more than 3,000 houses, many of them in the coastal areas, were destroyed by the typhoon.

Although all of the antique houses possess all the requirements to be officially declared by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines as heritage sites, Puache said the national government had yet to give recognition to any of the town’s antique houses.

Unisan, which was first known as Kalilayan, was founded by Malay settlers in the early 1500s, according to local history.
Unisan was the first capital of then Tayabas province, now Quezon province.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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