Marcos: ‘Karding’ damage ‘manageable’

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday said the damage caused by super typhoon “Karding” to infrastructure in hard-hit areas is “manageable,” adding the nation may have gotten lucky despite the destructive winds and torrential rains.

“Government services are almost at full function,” Marcos said in a statement after conducting an aerial inspection in Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Tarlac.

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. conducts an aerial inspection of Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Tarlac, the hardest-hit provinces during super typhoon Karding’s onslaught Sunday. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Bongbong Marcos Facebook page

“Main road thoroughfares are passable, communication is up and running.”

Marcos presided over a briefing with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and government officials.

“I think it’s clear from what we did these last two days is that very, very important is preparation,” he said.

“Get people out of the areas of danger, put all of your assets that you’re going to use when doing rescue and relief operations, put them in place as much as possible. It’s really in the preparation.”

84 villages affected

The NDRRMC reported that the number of villages affected by “Karding” rose to 84, displacing nearly 20,400 families within the five hardest-hit regions.

Based on its latest situational report, NDRRMC said the affected families are equivalent to 78,907 persons residing in areas of Cagayan Valley, MIMAROPA, Bicol, Western Visayas and Cordillera Administrative Region.

Two roads remain non-passable in the Bicol region with two towns in the Ilocos region and Western Visayas experiencing cut communication lines. Twelve towns in the affected regions experienced power outages.

NDRRMC said that preemptive evacuations were conducted in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Metro Manila, Bicol, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Cordillera and Central Luzon.

It has recorded so far five casualties, all rescuers from Bulacan.

No visits to affected LGUs, for now

Marcos said he would postpone the meetings with the local government officials to prevent impeding the disaster response and relief operations.

“I will not land in any place because from my experience, if you go right there just after the typhoon, they have lots of work.

If I land, they would need to welcome me, they would need to deploy police, deploy cars. There’s so much work and I would just disturb them,” he told the reporters.

Once relief and rescue efforts are done, Marcos said he will meet with the LGUs to see what else the national government could extend to them and provide immediate emergency support.

He commended the LGUs for being prepared for the calamity.

“It’s really in the preparation… The LGUs did a good job of explaining what the situation was, what needs to be done, and what the plans are,” he said.

“So, I think this is a good illustration of how that can really help. That’s the approach we will take always.”

“So far in general, the impact of ‘Karding’ seems very minimal. As we speak, we only have 52,000 people who evacuated,” NDRRMC deputy spokesperson Raffy Alejandro said at a public briefing.

Power restoration ordered

Immediate power restoration in areas heavily affected by the onslaught of super typhoon “Karding” was also ordered by Marcos, citing the need for those affected to communicate with their loved ones.

“As a response since I’ve already identified that the whole of Nueva Ecija and Aurora have no power, we need to send them power,” he said.

He asked Defense Secretary Jose Faustino Jr. if there are available generators that could be sent to the areas without power.

Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla assured the President that there is enough supply in all the fuel stations in affected areas.

“And speaking of fuel, sometimes we forget we send generators, we don’t send fuel. So make sure the generators have fuel. It’s that simple,” Marcos said.

“So at least for the electricity side — nothing, stopgap measure for now and we’ll do the longer stuff as soon as we have more information and we know — we can make a plan,” he added.

No widespread devastation

“Karding” smashed into the archipelago nation on Sunday after an unprecedented “explosive intensification” in wind speeds, the state weather forecaster said earlier.

It made landfall about 100 kilometers northeast of the densely populated capital Manila, before weakening to a typhoon as it crossed a mountain range, coconut plantations and rice fields.

Nearly 75,000 people were evacuated from their homes before the storm hit, as the meteorology agency warned heavy rain could cause «serious flooding» in vulnerable areas, trigger landslides, and destroy crops.

But on Monday there was no sign of the widespread devastation many had feared, as the storm moved over the South China Sea towards Vietnam.

Aerial footage taken during Marcos’s inspection flight over central Luzon showed rivers that were swollen or had burst their banks, and patches of farmland under water.

‘The wind was whistling’

Burdeos municipality on the Polillo islands bore the brunt of Karding.

Ferocious winds ripped off some roofs and brought down large trees while heavy rain flooded riverside houses, said Ervin Calleja, a 49-year-old teacher.

“It was really worrisome,” Calleja told AFP by phone.

“The wind was whistling and it had heavy rains. That’s the more dangerous part.”

Flimsy houses along the coast were damaged and some crops were wiped out.

“Here at the town center all banana trees were flattened, 100 percent,” said Liezel Calusin, a member of the civil defense team in Polillo municipality.

“We still have no electricity, but the phones are working.”

In Banaba village near Manila, Terrence Reyes fled his riverside home with his family and neighbors as floodwaters rose during the storm.

They returned home Monday to find their belongings sodden and caked in mud.

“We just have to throw them away and start over again,” Reyes, 25, said.

“It happens each time there is a storm here.”

‘Karding’ leaves

The latest weather bulletin of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration showed the center of the eye of “Karding’ was last spotted 230 kilometers west of Dagupan City, Pangasinan and now moving west northwestward at 30 kilometers per hour.

‘Karding’ packs a maximum sustained winds of 130 kph near the center with a gustiness of up to 160 kph and begins generally moving westward in the next 12 hours.

PAGASA said “Karding” slightly weakens as moves away from the Philippine Area of Responsibility toward Vietnam.

Light to moderate with at times heavy rains over Zambales, Bataan, Lubang Islands, and the western portion of Pangasinan with scattered flooding and rain-induced landslides expected within the forecast period.

With AFP Report

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