Death Toll Rises in Storm Hit Philippines – Government Declares “State of National Calamity”

A week of severe weather has left over 40 people dead in the Philippines, prompting the government to declare a “state of national calamity.”

Tropical Cyclone Melor

Philippines authorities say Tropical Cyclone Melor, known locally as “Nona”, made landfall in Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro on 15 December 2015.

Melor caused widespread destruction, substantial damage, and deaths in several areas, including the provinces of Albay, Northern Samar, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon and Sorsogon. Media reported that 11 people died in the cyclone, many of them from the island of Mindoro, where flood waters were as deep as 2 metres in some places.

Melor also brought flooding to several major cities, including Manila, which recorded 146.8 mm of rain fall in a 24 hour period to 16 December.

Authorities had carried out the pre-emptive evacuations of almost 750,000 people in anticipation of the threat of Cyclone Melor.

Currently, a total of 37,145 families or 175,168 persons are inside 526 evacuation centres and 38,601 families or 192,098 persons are outside evacuation centres, according to the latest report from authorities.

Storm Onyok

The cyclone was followed swiftly by a tropical depression, known locally as storm Onyok. The storm made landfall on 18 December 2015 in Caraga and Manay, triggered flooding and landslides.

By Saturday 19 December the tropical depression had weakened into a low pressure area bringing torrential rains to the central Visayas islands and Mindanao.

Philippines authorities say that a total of 32,914 families or 143,097 persons were affected by Onyok. About 15,000 people were evacuated in Caraga. Over 12,000 where staying in 87 evacuation centres set up by local disaster management authorities.

Northeast Monsoon Rains

The Philippines National Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) also reported on 20 December that the Northeast Monsoon was affecting Northern and Central Luzon, bringing with it the threat of flash floods and landslides.

Almost 5,000 have been evacuated in Laguna, Cavite, Quezon and Bohol provinces. Four people died in a landslide in Quezon and 5 others were injured in a separate landslide in Cebu.

NDRRMC say that flooding is affecting 35 areas, including Mandaluyong City and the Province of Lagunain, where in some cases the flood water is waist deep.

NDRRMC report that in some areas the flood water has started to recede.

Distributing relief supplies after cyclone Melor. Photo: Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
Distributing relief supplies after cyclone Melor. Photo: Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)