DSWD steps up relief operations

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The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) announced on Tuesday that it continues to intensify the distribution of relief goods in Eastern Samar, one of the provinces severely affected by Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit).

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Amid road clearing operations on Eastern Samar’s Borongan town, which was ravaged by Typhoon Ruby, personnel of the DSWD accompanied five military trucks loaded with rice sacks and food packs for typhoon survivors here.

Upon arriving in the town, the convoy proceeded to five barangays where they distributed 189 sacks of rice to 1,575 families. These barangays include Bugas, where the DSWD distributed 60 rice sacks, Sta. Fe with 38, Canhaway with 17, Tamoso with 31, and San Santorino with 43.

The relief goods distributed supplemented the food packs earlier pre-positioned by the department in the town.

Aid routes
According to the DSWD, moreover, it has already provided 6,150 sacks of rice and 9,900 family food packs in Eastern Samar.

The towns that received 50-kilogram rice sacks were Balangiga (200), Borongan (200), Can-avid (400), Dolores (650), Giporlos (200), Guiuan (200), Hernani (250), Jipapad (350), Lawaan (300), Mercedes (200), Oras (200), Salcedo (200), San Policarpio (400), and Sulat (400).

The Provincial Social Welfare Office was also given 2,000 sacks of rice.

On the other hand, towns that received family food packs were Llorente, with 1440 food packs, and Quinapondan with 960.

Some 5,000 food packs were also pre-positioned at the DSWD Borongan Hub.

DSWD Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman is currently in Borongan to oversee the ongoing relief operations in the town.

Soliman said that 30,000 food packs would come from the DSWD-Field Office XI and Caraga. The packs would be brought to the town of Taft and the municipalities north of Borongan.

Boats readied
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said it has deployed its multi-mission boats for quick response and relief operations in typhoon affected areas.

In a statement, lawyer Asis Perez, Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Fisheries and BFAR National Director, said that 10 Monitoring, Control and Surveillance vessels and 26 30-footer patrol boats have been placed strategically in areas affected by the typhoon.

“The bureau’s multi-mission boats have been secured and pre-positioned early on to help in rescue and relief efforts of the government,” he said.

BFAR has been coordinating with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and the DSWD in deploying the vessels for faster and more efficient delivery of relief packs and other basic services to typhoon affected communities.

“This is part of our proactive measures in relation to calamities like this. We want to mitigate any damage the typhoon may cause and we also want to be able to respond to emergencies at the earliest time possible,” Perez said.

Relief hubs
The DSWD also announced that relief operations continue in other regions affected by Typhoon Ruby.

As of 10 a.m. on Tuesday, P62 million has already been spent on relief efforts. The amount came from the combined resources of the DSWD, which furnished P55 million, and local government units (LGU), which shouldered P6 million.

The repacking of relief goods, meanwhile, continues in various relief hubs in Cebu and at the National Resource Operations Center in Pasay City.

DSWD-Field Office Mimaropa also opened a relief hub in Batangas City as pick up and delivery point for Oriental and Occidental Mindoro and Romblon.

Evacuees’ status
As of press time, the DSWD reported that Typhoon Ruby affected 463,449 families or 2,065,224 persons.

Some 5,193 evacuation centers, down from 5,529 at the height of the typhoon, continue to serve 369,193 families or 1,653,241 persons.

DSWD field offices in the regions affected by Typhoon Ruby reported that some evacuees have started to return to their homes after the weather in their areas improved.

Members of the DSWD’s Quick Response Team in the affected regions continue to coordinate with LGUs to monitor and assess the impact of the disaster.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard said that 1,126 passengers were stranded due to Typhoon Ruby.

The PCG added that 25 vessels and 313 rolling cargoes were stranded also because of the typhoon.

WITH REPORTS FROM JAMES KONSTANTIN GALVEZ, ROBERTZON F. RAMIREZ AND PNA

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