Death toll from 'habagat' rains nears 100

Posted at 08/13/2012 10:01 AM | Updated as of 08/13/2012 9:25 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The number of people who lost their lives from last week's torrential rains has reached 92, latest government data revealed on Monday.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said most of the deaths were recorded in Central Luzon with 38; followed by the National Capital Region (32); MIMAROPA (15); Region I (6); and Region IV-B (1).

NDRRMC data showed that drowning was the most common cause of death with 66 cases.

The other causes of death were: landslide (12); electrocution (4); heart attack (3); struck by lightning (2); hit by falling trees (2); nervous breakdown (1). The cause of death of two of the fatalities were not indicated.

The number of people affected by torrential rains and floods rose to 3.45 million. Of this number, 89, 114 families or 410,729 people were still inside evacuation centers.

Meanwhile, the total cost of damage to infrastructure and agriculture in affected areas has reached P616,376,611.50.

Severe flooding also damaged 8,629 houses in Regions I, III, IV-A, IV-B and VI.

A total of 40 towns, cities and provinces have so far declared a state of calamity.

NDRRMC Executive Director Benito Ramos said coastal areas such as Hagonoy, Calumpit, Marilao and Obando in Bulacan; and Apalit, Sasmuan, Candaba, Masantol and Lubao in Pampanga remain flooded.

"Nakadugtong ito sa dagat, lalo na kung high tide, babagal ang pag-hupa ng baha," Ramos told dzMM.

PAGASA said Metro Manila and nearby areas remain under threat to possible torrential rains as tropical depression "Helen" moves closer to the Philippines.

PAGASA forecaster Samuel Duran said sea conditions remain favorable for Helen to develop into a storm, threatening to bring heavy rains over the Philippines by enhancing the southwest monsoon (habagat).

Duran said Helen is forecast to hit extreme northern Luzon, but may still bring rains to central and southern Luzon which are still reeling from the effects of the two weeks of raining from tropical cyclone "Gener" and the enhanced southwest monsoon.

As of 7 a.m., Helen was located 600 kilometers east northeast of Casiguran, Aurora. It was moving slowly at 9 kilometers per hour.

Ramos, meanwhile, said local government units are more prepared than ever in responding to disasters, citing stronger links between the NDRRMC and its local counter parts.

He said 86% of LGUs so far have established local disaster management councils.