Relief operations intensified in Western Visayas

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With the arrival of more international relief aid organizations in Western Visayas, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has increased its relief operations efforts reaching the remote barangays affected by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in the region.

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The Provincial Relief Aid for Yolanda (PRAY), an international relief aid organization with volunteers from the different countries headed by Col. Rod Ward, a retired US Army officer, went to the Incident Command Post in Roxas City, Capiz and apprised of the current situation and updates on humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.

PRAY’s mission is to procure, organize and provide life-saving supplies and materials to the remote villages of all provinces on the northern side of Panay Island.

Their focus is to save the lives of the “most in need” referring to the elderly and children.

Another aid organization is the International Student Organization (ISO) headed by MJ Villamor.

The organization which is based in Jaro, Iloilo City is composed of volunteer international students that primarily cater to the old, children and women.

Major Gen. Aurelio Baladad, the Incident Commander for Western Visayas, presented a comprehensive situation update with the necessary data of the areas heavily affected by “Yolanda” generated from the Geographical Information System (GIS) prepared by the technical expert personnel of the 3rd Infantry Division.

The data being depicted on the map can give the audience a better appreciation of the whole situation and clear idea where to better respond.

PRAY and ISO were assisted by the 3rd Infantry Division’s 31st Division Reconnaissance Company (31st DRC) and served about 1,500 families in the remote barangays of Pan-ay, Pilar, Maayon and Panit-an towns and Roxas City, all in Capiz province.

On Thursday, over 500 families in far-flung barangays of Dao, Sigma and Pontevedra were given relief aid by these organizations.

Relief packs distributed to each family consist of food which is good for five days, while shelter materials such as tarpaulins, nails, nylon cord and blankets were also distributed to provide comfort to the affected families.

The 31st DRC was one the Disaster Response Task Units that was deployed in the hinterland barangays of the north, central and eastern towns of Capiz.

Based in Panit-an, Capiz, the 31st DRC responded immediately after the typhoon and helped clear roads in the Capiz towns of Pontevedra, President Roxas and Maayon.

Meanwhile, the 12th CAFGU Cadre Battalion together with the Tactical Operations Group-6 of the Philippine Air Force distributed 2,000 relief packs in the remote barangays of Madalag and Libacao towns of Aklan province.

“We need to increase our relief efforts in the hinterland barangays greatly affected as we can see the difficult situation of the people there. As we closely coordinate with the government agencies, aid organizations both from local and international, we can deliver more relief aid especially to the hinterland areas,” Baladad said. PNA

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