MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network): Five rescuers were the first confirmed casualties of Super Typhoon Karding (international name: Noru), the strongest storm to hit the country this year that left a trail of destruction, stripping off roofs, knocking out power lines, and toppling structures as it barreled through the mainly agricultural provinces of Central Luzon region on Sunday until early Monday (Sept 26).
A resident of Barangay Aluyon in Burdeos town in Quezon province, identified as Eli Alberto, 70, also died when he was buried by a landslide in the village around 7.30pm on Sunday, according to Mayor Freddie Aman.
The rescuers were from the Bulacan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), who drowned while conducting rescue operations in San Miguel town, where 40 of the 49 villages were submerged in floodwaters due to strong rains spawned by the typhoon, Mayor Roderick Tiongson said on Monday.
Among the worst hit by the typhoon were the five towns in Quezon’s Polillo Group of Islands—Polillo, Burdeos, Panukulan, Jomalig and Patnanungan.
In Quezon’s General Nakar town, a village in the Sierra Madre mountain ranges endured Karding’s wrath, according to Erberto Astrera, the town’s disaster response officer.
“The damage in the village is more than 85 to 90 per cent. The roof of its elementary school was almost wiped out. Many houses were damaged because of the strong winds,” Astrera said in a phone interview.
Mayor Aman said the typhoon damaged 80 per cent of the houses in the town centre.
“Most of the residents are now without roofs,” Aman said in a phone interview on Monday.
According to the mayor, the destruction could be worse. “Most of the villages in far-flung areas outside of town have yet to make a report due to lack of communication,” he said.
In Aurora province, houses and boats along its coastline were destroyed by strong winds and waves.
He said the provinces of Bulacan, Quezon and Nueva Ecija were the worst hit by the typhoon.
President Marcos conducted an aerial inspection of the affected Central Luzon provinces to assess the damage to communities.
"After our aerial inspection today, we found some areas that are still inundated ... Nueva Ecija and Aurora are without power. We are sending gensets (electric generator sets) now,” the President said in his Facebook page.
“But generally, the damage to public and private infrastructure is minimal. Government services are almost at full function. Main road thoroughfares are passable, communication is up and running,” he added.
Marcos ordered supplies be airlifted and cleanup equipment be provided to most-affected communities.
“The point at which we can stand down is when the majority of evacuees are already back home,” he said.
The President said that aside from rescue efforts, the priorities should be giving emergency food and water rations and temporary shelter to the affected residents.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) said the initial farm losses amounted to P141.38 million, representing 5,886 metric tonnes of crops planted by 740 farmers on 16,229 hectares of land.
"Affected commodities include rice, corn and high-value crops. These values are subject to validation. Additional damage and losses are expected in areas affected by [the typhoon],” the DA said in its advisory.
In Metro Manila, millions of households briefly lost access to electricity at the onslaught of the typhoon.
Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) said it recorded power interruptions affecting 1,237,826 customers across its franchise area since Sunday.
Meanwhile, Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Cesar Chiong said 39 domestic and two international flights were canceled on Monday.
Responding to appeals for help, the Inquirer is extending its relief efforts to the families affected by Typhoon Karding. Cash donations may be deposited in the Inquirer Foundation Corp. Banco De Oro (BDO) Current Account No.: 007960018860 and through Maya