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BATANES, Philippines – A day after relief goods were airlifted to the provincial capital of Basco, disaster officials reached Typhoon Ferdie’s (Meranti) ground zero, which has been isolated after the storm hit the province.
Bad weather and strong waves had prevented responders from reaching Itbayat island, the northernmost town of the country.
“I felt relieved that the situation there wasn’t as bad as we expected,” Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director, told Rappler.
On Sunday, September 18, Jalad, together with Social Welfare Assistant Secretary Hope Hervilla, Batanes Governor Malou Cayco, and Representative Henedina Abad flew to the island to check the situation of the residents there and to bring relief goods.
Like in other affected towns in Batanes, Jalad said, there was no reported casualty in Itbayat.
The two fishermen who went missing after Typhoon Ferdie made landfall in the island have been found, he added.
Along the way from the town’s airport, houses were partially damaged, Jalad said.
He was worried about how farmers and their families will recover from the disaster.
“Ang mga niyog ay wala nang bunga. Ang mga saging ay bagsak. Medyo matagal-tagal na dapat tulungan sila sa pagkain (The coconut trees have no more coconuts. The banana plants are all down. They would need help in terms food for quite some time),” Jalad said.
“We will treat rehabilitation in Batanes with urgency,” the NDRRMC chief said. (WATCH: #FerdiePH: Gov asks Duterte to help rehabilitate Batanes)
According to the DSWD, residents had been provided with additional food supplies enough to last for two weeks. The NDRRMC response cluster, headed by the DSWD, brought 20 sacks of rice, 4 boxes of distilled water, 20 assorted boxes of canned goods and family food packs. The Department of Health brought assorted medical supplies and medicines.
On Saturday, 600 family food packs, 20,000 ready-to-eat brown rice bars, bottled water, malongs, and 3 generator sets were also airlifted to Basco, capital town of Batanes, for distribution to affected areas.
Three teams composed of the Rapid Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis (RDNA) Team, Rapid Emergency Telecommunications Team (RETT), and a medical team also landed in Basco via C130 aircraft.
Nearly 2,700 families or about 10,200 people in Batanes have been affected by the typhoon, the DSWD reported.
Batanes has been placed under a state of calamity since Thursday, September 15. According to authorities, initial estimate of the typhoon damage in the province is at P369 million. – Rappler.com