#LawinPH: Road to recovery begins
MANILA, Philippines – Super Typhoon Lawin (Haima) struck the eastern coast of Cagayan province late evening Wednesday, October 19, bringing with it strong winds of up to 220 kilometers per hour. Lawin traversed northern Luzon fairly quickly but left in its wake scenes of destruction and interrupted lives.
At least 9 people are dead and 3 others missing or feared dead, according to the latest situation report released by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Saturday, October 22.
A total of 274,685 persons – equivalent to about 56,266 families – were affected in Regions CAR, I, II, III, IVA, and V, or pretty much the entire swath of northern and central luzon.
Of this number, 56,226 families or 237,681 persons were displaced. Some 29,533 families or 116,826 persons took shelter in evacuation centers, while the rest moved to the homes of relatives or friends.
The government estimates the typhoon damaged at least 6,308 homes and tens of millions of pesos worth of agriculture. In the Cordilleras alone, the provincial disaster management office estimates agriculture damage at P26.2 million. Rappler received reports via social media that farmers scrambled to harvest rice and other crops before the arrival of Lawin.
According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), a total of ₱14,072,830 worth of relief assistance has been provided to the affected families. Of the said amount, DSWD provided ₱10,144,496, while affected LGUs provided a total of ₱3,584,254. Initial relief assistance included family food packs and hygiene kits.
#ReliefPH operations in the Province of Apayao. There are almost 2,500 families affected in the province due to devastation of #LawinPH.Posted by OCD-CAR CRDRRMC on Friday, October 21, 2016
On October 21, DSWD secretary Judy Taguiwalo and Office of Civil Defense Executive Director Ricardo Jalad led a team of officials and disaster managers to conduct an aerial survey and inspection of the disaster zone, landing in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan. Vice President Leni Robredo conducted a separate visit in Isabela and Cagayan provinces. (READ: Kalinga under a state of calamity)
Although Lawin was the strongest typhoon in the Pacific for the year, it did not cause damage at the level of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013, as was earlier feared by many. Unlike in Haiyan, many communities living in coastal and low-lying areas were evacuated early and away from the coastline. Still, Lawin uprooted many trees, caused landslides that blocked major roads, and shut the power off in many provinces.
Now, the process of rehabilitation and recovery begins.
Government and civil society have mobilized relief programs to provide immediate aid and longer-term assistance to those affected by Lawin. Civic and private organizations, such as Caritas Philippines, World Vision, and the Philippine Red Cross, have sent assessment teams and relief to remote areas in Isabela and Cagayan.
"We are trying to determine where help is most needed and what type of relief are we going to give to affected communities," said Father Edwin Gariguez, head of Caritas Philippines.
These organizations are calling on the public to donate cash or relief needs like medicine, clothes, and building materials. Those who want to donate can visit the organization’s social media pages or tweet with #ReliefPH or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social welfare secretary Taguiwalo thanked civic organizations and donors for their offers to help, and reassured local officials that the government was ready to respond.
Speaking to the public in Tuguegarao on Friday, October 21, Taguiwalo said, “We want to assure our local government officials that we are here for them, and more importantly, we are here for their constituents. We want our brothers and sisters in Cagayan to know that we are paying close attention to the situation they are facing and that we are ready to help.” – Rappler.com
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