Life easily returned to normal for residents of Negros Oriental because “Yolanda”, the deadliest storm to hit the country this year, left minimal damage in the province, compared to other areas in the country.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council yesterday reported zero fatality in Negros Oriental, with only two people injured and no missing persons when “Yolanda” pummeled the Visayas region Friday.

A driver was injured in Vallehermoso town northeast of Negros Oriental when a tree branch fell on the roof of his multi-cab and pinned him down, and another was hurt in Guihulngan City after a coconut tree fell on him, PDRRMC executive officer, Adrian Sedillo, said.

A fisherman, who was reported missing was found to have safely sought cover later.

Except for felled trees, toppled posts and broken lines that cut off power supply in Negros Oriental and Dumaguete City, the impact of the Category 5 typhoon that packed maximum sustained winds of more than 200 kph was hardly felt in the province.

About 18,000 individuals, or 5,000 families, were initially reported to have evacuated from their homes Thursday as a pre-emptive measure against the expected onslaught of the super typhoon. They returned home Friday evening or early Saturday.

Gov. Roel Degamo appealed to Negrenses to send in donations, in cash or in kind, to help the typhoon victims in hardest hit areas of Tacloban and other parts of Leyte, and these can be coursed through the provincial Department of Social Welfare and Development Office, or the Capitol.

Degamo also called for prayers for those who perished in the typhoon, even as he expressed mixed emotions because Negros Oriental was spared.

He thanked the PDRRMC member agencies, organizations and the media for their support, commitment and dedication in trying to minimize the impact of “Yolanda” in Negros Oriental through information and preparation.

Degamo will meet with the department heads and members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan this morning to discuss possible assistance that may be provided to those affected by the killer typhoon.

Concerned agencies were also asked to submit a report on the damage to agriculture and infrastructure of “Yolanda” in the province.

Salustiano Jimenez, provincial schools superintendent of the Department of Education, said classes in all public elementary and high schools in the province will resume today.*JFP