Super-typhoon Rolly, said to be the strongest weather disturbance to hit the country this year, slammed into southern Luzon last week – particularly the provinces of Catanduanes, Albay, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte – killing up to two dozen persons and causing catastrophic damage to crops, livestock, private property and public infrastructure estimated at around P20 billion.
Also badly damaged by the rampaging typhoon (international name: Goni), which the PAGASA weather agency said packed winds reaching 250 k.p.h., were the provinces of Quezon, Batangas, Masbate and Marinduque.
(Miraculously spared from Rolly’s destruction was Metro Manila and its 15-million population, when, literally at the very last minute, it veered south of its projected path and exited over Batangas and Mindoro on its way to the West Philippine Sea.)
Hardest hit, according to the Office of Civil Defense, were Catanduanes and Albay that until now do not have electricity as almost all their power and communication lines were felled by Rolly’s tornado-like winds.
Catanduanes, many reports said, bore the brunt of Rolly’s cyclonic winds and torrential rains as it was where typhoon first made landfall, after building up its Category 5 strength over the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean.
As a result, Malacanang ordered the mobilization of concerned agencies such as the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of National Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, Department of Health, Philippine National Police, etc. to step up efforts to get life back to normal for an estimated 4 million adversely-affected residents.
Photo: Trends map