Landslides and flooding in the wake of Tropical Depression Usman has has have left at least 50 people dead in the Bicol region.
As of 5pm today (Sunday, December 30), the region’s police have recorded 16 deaths in Camarines Sur alone.
A further 15 were reported dead in Albay, seven in Masbate, six in Sorsogon and six in Camarines Norte.
At least 16 people are still missing, including seven people caught up in a landslide in Tiwi town, Albay, at about 9pm yesterday.
Search and retrieval operations are still ongoing to find the missing people, Chief Inspector Malu Calubaquib, spokeswoman of the Bicol Region police, has said.
Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara and Camarines Sur Governor Migz Villafuerte have declared their provinces under a state of calamity today.
Albay province was placed under state of calamity through a special organised session by members of Sangguniang Panlalawigan on Sunday after the province suffered severe flooding, landslides and infrastructure damage due to heavy rainfall.
Cedric Daep, Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office chief, said 68 houses have been destroyed by landslides.
“This state of calamity declaration will utilise the calamity fund to help the affected residents to cope up with damage suffered,” he said.
He added that potable drinking water was also badly needed in towns hit by flooding.
Meanwhile, in Camarines Sur, Villafuerte announced on his Facebook account that the province has been placed under a state of calamity through a Sangguniang Panlalawigan resolution also today.
He said it was due to flooding, landslides and other damage brought about by Tropical Depression Usman.
According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) the low pressure area (LPA) which used to be Tropical Depression Usman and the tail-end of a cold front are still bringing rain today.
PAGASA advised all areas affected by the LPA and the tail-end of a cold front to remain alert for flash floods and landslides.