BAGUIO CITY – Bodies of 11 fatalities have been claimed by their families as volunteers continue to dig for survivors buried in mudslides in the town of Natonin in Mountain Province.
As of Saturday, search and rescue operations recovered bodies and body parts of houses and a building of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), which were dragged 5 kilometers below when boulders broke a road in Barangay Banawel in Natonin , at the time of the typhoon "Rosita" (international name: Yutu) on October 30.
The confirmed dead were Benito Longan and John Tinmakcheg, both from Natonin, Junjun Laron from La Union, Jerry Epan from Ifugao, Elberto Cano from Isabela and Gregorio Castro from Baguio City.
The remains of Joel Arevalo de Bicol, Juanita Longan of Natonin and Virginia Catet Malucay of Mankayan, Benguet, still need to be brought home by their families.
Two bodies still have to be identified.
The local disaster relief office has not yet determined whether these bodies belong to members of the Ifugao-based Citizen Armed Forces Geographic Unit, who have taken on parallel jobs as workers in Natonin.
Cleaning of roads
Most of the people inside the collapsed DPWH building were workers hired to build attachments at the second district engineering office complex in Barangay Banawel.
Roads linking the city of Natonin and Paracelis in Mountain Province were finally opened by DPWH work teams and heavy equipment were deployed, hastening the recovery of bodies.
Food and other supplies also reached the city center, which was isolated for days.
Disaster officials were just beginning to get a full picture of the damage caused by Rosita, especially in the north.
As of Saturday, the National Council for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRMC) has already received reports of losses of P131.4 million for agriculture in the Cagayan Valley region and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
Of this figure, Cagayan suffered losses of 85 million pounds and the Cordilleras, P46.4 million.
The assessment of agricultural damage took into account the value of lost irrigation systems, infrastructure and high value crops.
The NDRRMC also said that at least 7,861 homes were damaged by the typhoon in the regions of Ilocos, Cagayan, Central Luzon, Cordillera and Eastern Visayas.
Earlier, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said that 229,846 people were displaced or suffered financial losses in those regions.
As of Saturday, the DSWD said 466 people were still sheltering in 15 evacuation centers, most of which in the CAR.
The NDRRMC said that so far, about $ 18 million in aid has been sent to survivors of the storm. –Kimberlie Quitasol with a report by Jaymee T. Gamil
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