DSWD, other agencies send one of largest food assistance to Albay
MANILA, Philippines – More than 30 trucks of relief assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development and other government agencies left the National Resource Operations Center in Pasay City on Tuesday, February 27, for the families affected by Mayon's eruption.
"It was one of the largest send-off operations since the eruption of Mayon volcano," said DSWD OIC Secretary Emmanuel Leyco, who led the ceremony with Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, who is also executive director for disaster risk and reduction management, and Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary Eymard Eje.
The fleet carrying 36,100 food packs is expected to arrive in Guinobatan, Albay, on Wedenesday, February 28.
In an interview, Leyco said the department was preparing for the continuous volcanic activity of Mt Mayon.
"The eruption is continuous. It's not the dramatic kind of eruption, where there's one explosiion and that's it. There's continuous flow of lava. That's why we're thinking and preparing for long-term assistance in this situation. Maybe for another two months, we should always be ready," Leyco said in Filipino.
Leyco said there are individuals who keep going back to the 6-7-kilometer danger zone. He reminded them to cooperate with the local government units and stay in the evacuation centers for safety.
"I guess we really need to give them a livelihood far away from the volcano. This is not only a temporary response, but we need to provide the people with a long-term and more durable, more permanent response. The danger-zone should be a no-man zone," he said in a mix of Filipino and English.
He also said that the department has spent approximately P60 million for aiding those affected by eruption.
"The DSWD has released around P60 million. Other agencies might have spent P100 million already, but the budget are in preposition, we allocated budget for assistance, for funds," he said.
The department's Disaster Response Assistance and Management Bureau is targeting to deliver a total of 458,250 additional food packs to Albay.
The department is also looking for volunteers to help in the continuous preparations for those affected by the volcanic activity.
In the latest report of the Disaster Response Operations, Management, and Information Center 16,106 families or 61,886 individuals are still taking temporary shelter in the 57 evacuation centers in Albay. – Rappler.com