MANILA, Philippines – Learning from their experience with Supertyphoon Yolanda last year, almost 900,000 people voluntarily fled to about 1,000 evacuation centers ahead of Typhoon Ruby.
The national government aimed for a zero-casualty mark. But despite the preparations, there were still records of death at the height of Ruby.
When the typhoon first made landfall, a person died after being hit by a falling tree in Dolores. Two women were also wounded when the tricycle they were riding was also struck by a falling tree in Negros Oriental province.
And just last Sunday, Althea Angelique Rojo, a 16-month-old infant, died of pneumonia in an evacuation center in Balasan town, Iloilo province on Sunday.
Rojo was taken to Jesus Colmenares District Hospital due to a high fever. Balasan town Mayor Filomeno Ganzon later confirmed that the baby died after suffering from convulsion.
Rojo’s family was evacuated to Balantian Elementary School, a refuge to 863 families or 3,576 people.
Aside from Rojo, another one-month-old baby boy died of sickness in an evacuation center in Baybay City, Iloilo. However, his death has not yet been verified.
Meanwhile, Ernesto Baylon, a 65-year-old man, also died in Brgy. Bayas, Estancia town, Iloilo around 8 p.m. on Saturday. But his death was not linked to the typhoon.
Iloilo Provincial Administrator Raul Banias, also a medical doctor, said they have yet to confirm if Baylon indeed died due to hypothermia. Banias will check if the old man had a preexisting illness.
Reports said that Baylon was left in their residence while his family was in an evacuation center.
Another casualty, Jennelyn Castor, a 35-year-old mother, was reported to have died of preeclampsia in Brgy. Agbobolo, Ajuy, Iloilo around 9 p.m. on Saturday.
She was staying in her relative’s house in Brgy. Sto. Rosario while waiting for Typhoon Ruby to leave the country.
In Tacloban, the city worst hit by Yolanda, there were no news of death cases from Ruby.
Rhea Astuna, a 29-year-old mother, took off to an evacuation center in Tacloban on Thursday. With her family, they waited for Ruby’s wrath to end. Despite residing in a temporary shelter, they were grateful that this typhoon was not as violent as Yolanda.
While Typhoon Ruby is waning, officials still advised the public to stay alert as it is still on course. The typhoon is expected to exit the country on Tuesday.