Agencies, volunteers strengthen assistance to landslide-stricken Benguet

ITOGON, Benguet, Sept. 21 (PIA) - - Regional line agencies  with  augmentation from the national government and volunteers  continue  to strengthen   assistance to landslide- stricken communities in the province that was severely affected during the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong.


Bulk of the operation continues at the municipality of Itogon where the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Fire Protection lead other volunteer groups in the search, rescue and retrieval operations for the reported   scores of missing persons, aside from the 56 landslide victims that were already recovered.

Cordillera Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CRDRRMC) Vice Chair for Disaster Response, Department of Social Welfare and Development Regional Director Janet Armas, in a CRDRRMC meeting on Thursday, reported that they continue to deliver family food packs and non food items continue in Itogon and 25 of their personnel remain on duty at the municipality. Aside from relief operations, they are occupied with the management of evacuation centers.

There are still 527 evacuees in Itogon and the number does not include the family members of the missing persons that are also seeking shelter in the evacuation camps from time to time.

Armas  also reported that aside from Itogon, the municipality of Kabayan, also in Benguet is much affected  especially with  damaged road network  that delivery of family food packs  is being done  through the assistance of the Philippine Air Force. There were already 620 family food packs and 72 sleeping kits delivered in the municipality. More FPPs are set for delivery.

For other assistance, Armas disclosed  that under DSWD’s “Balik – Probinsiya” program, 23 landslide survivors were already awarded with P25,000 checks for transportation and food assistance and 24 others were given  cash assistance varying from P1,500 – P5,000.  One was already provided with P25, 000 burial assistance and 33 more are on – process.

President Duterte during his meeting with kin of typhoon casualties at the Benguet capitol on Monday promised burial assistance for the fatalities.

Kristine Talavera of DOH – CAR reported that health and sanitation services for the government SRR teams and volunteers in Itogon are already being addressed.

Talavera said help desk are set – up in the area to assist rescuers in their health and medical needs, while needed supplies for the embalmment of recovered bodies and water supply purification were already delivered. Several temporary toilet facilities are also being installed.

CRDRRMC chair and OCD Regional Director Ruben Carandang assured that council member agencies are continuously meeting and working on the post – typhoon Ompong response operations and rapid damage assessment and needs analysis, not only in Benguet but for the whole of Cordillera, as he called for the continuing support of all regional stakeholders both in the public and private sector.

As of 7:00AM of Sept. 21, there are 79 dead, 50 missing and 73injured in the whole of Cordillera due to Ompong. 49 national road sections are closed to traffic and 14,538 houses were reportedly damaged.

Meanwhile, the DENR Mines and Geo – Science Bureau central office, through the directive of Secretary Roy Cimatu, has sent a team of experts that will look into the landslide susceptibility of Typhoon Ompong- affected areas in Benguet, especially the landslide area in Itogon.

Supervising Science Research Specialist Liza Manzano, the MGB Central office team leader, said  their assignment is to look into the susceptibility for possible further occurrences of landslide in the area to ensure the safety of the Typhoon Ompong unaffected communities in the municipality, as well as the evacuees and the rescuers that are continuously working in the area. (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR)






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