By Ariel Avendaño
BALER, Aurora — No casualties, no major damage to property or public infrastructure, and very minor effect on agriculture – such was the impact of typhoon “Ompong” on this province on Saturday.
Engineer Elson Egargue, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) chief, said it seemed Ompong weakened significantly after pummeling Cagayan and Ilocos region that it practically spared Aurora from serious damage.
“Zero casualty po tayo at wala ring mga mangingisdang pinayagang pumalaot dahil nagbigay po ng marching order si acting Governor Rommel Angara na tiyaking walang malalagay sa panganib ang buhay ng ating mga kababayan (We are zero casualty and no fishermen were allowed to venture into fishing expedition to ensure that no one’s life will be put in danger),” Egargue said.
Citing reports gathered from eight towns of the province, he said preemptive evacuation of the most vulnerable residents in the most high-risk areas also contributed to keeping the people of Aurora safe during the storm.
As of this afternoon, there were 4,311 families or 16,109 individuals took shelter in various evacuation centers while 2,111 families or 7,942 individuals sought refuge in safer grounds outside evacuation centers.
Egargue said that there were 1,800 food packs equally distributed to affected families in the three northern towns of Dinalungan, Casiguran, and Dilasag.
Mayor Shierwin Taay of Dingalan told The Manila Bulletin that a storm surge with the height of 4 meters was experienced, but about 1,741 families or 5,689 individuals had been taken to safer ground way ahead of the occurrence.
Taay said at least four villages were isolated due to landslides that obstructed the road, but vowed to address the situation. “We will clear all the roads leading to those isolated barangays the moment weather condition improves,” he said.
Local officials expressed hope that repairs on the damaged segment of the Cabanatuan-Bongabon 69KV transmission line of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) could be stepped up so that power can be restored in the province.