51 dead, 20 missing in Philippines' days of continuous rains

08:26, January 17, 2011      

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The Philippines' National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Sunday it has accounted four more fatalities in connection with the continuous rains brought about by the tail-end of the cold front, increasing the death toll to 51.

In a phone interview, NDRRMC executive officer and concurrent Office of Civil Defense chief Benito Ramos said the bodies of the four, all swept by floodwater several days ago, were retrieved by local authorities on Sunday.

As of Saturday, the NDRRMC registered 47 deaths due to the rains in affected areas across the Philippines.

Sixteen people went missing when their fishing boats capsized due big waves in Pandan town in Catanduanes province, Ramos said, adding seven others were rescued by responding teams.

The 16 brings to 20 the total number of missing who are subject to search and rescue operations by the authorities. The four other missing are from Catanduanes province and Agusan del Sur province.

Ramos reiterated his safety appeal to the fisher folks in the eastern seaboard areas of Sorsogon, Albay, Catanduanes and Camarines provinces.

"I am reiterating our appealing to our fellow countrymen in the eastern seaboard...not to go venture in fishing during bad weather because the waves will be dangerous during these times," he said.

Damages to infrastructure, agriculture and private in the affected areas have risen to 1.62 billion pesos (36.9 million U.S. dollars), Ramos said, adding he expects this figure to rise in the coming days as the rains are still continuing.

According to Ramos, the number of population so far affected is now 309,002 families or 1,580,543 individuals. Of the number, he said, 1,969 families or 8,841 persons are housed in evacuation centers.

Source: Xinhua

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