WATCH: Red alert: DSWD activates disaster response teams in Caraga
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), through its Disaster Response Assistance and Management Bureau (DReAMB), is now on red alert status.
This means that DSWD, the lead agency for disaster response, will conduct round-the-clock monitoring of the situation in areas affected by the magnitude 6.7 earthquake that hit Mindanao, particularly the Caraga region Friday night, February 10.
The DSWD activated the Response Cluster of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) at 5 pm, Saturday, February 11.
The agency also activated its Quick Response Team (QRT) at the regional level and its Social Welfare and Development (SWAD) teams at the provincial level, to provide technical assistance and resource augmentation to the disaster operations of the local government units.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has deployed a search and rescue (SAR) vessel to Surigao del Norte, coming from Cebu.
"We were told that drinking water is scarce (in affected areas). The said ship can also be used for disaster relief operations and as a platform for other rescue activities," PCG officer-in-charge Commodore Joel Garcia said.
According to Garcia, the PCG has mobilized more than 150 of its personnel in the area to participate in the operation.
Local disaster response
In a report on Saturday morning, DSWD-Caraga regional director Mita Lim said she met with the regional disaster focal person for disaster response, and Surigao City Vice Mayor Alfonso Casurra to discuss the effects of the earthquake.
She added that upon request of the Surigao City government, the DSWD-Field Office has prepositioned 900 food packs in the city.
Lim also reported that she visited Barangays Nueva and Taft, and assigned teams to conduct a rapid assessment of damaged houses.
As of Saturday afternoon, February 11, the DSWD said they had received reports there are over 500 damaged houses in the Caraga region.
The DSWD-Field Office Caraga is still validating the total number of affected families and persons.
The DSWD Central Office (CO), its field office in Caraga, and the National Resource Operations Center (NROC) have stockpiles and standby funds amounting to about P1.6 billion. More than P1.4 billion has been set aside as quick response fund.
A total of 109,501 family food packs (FFPs) worth more than P42.2 million, and food and non-food items worth more than P124 million are on standby, ready to be distributed if affected areas need augmentation.
At least 28 barangays in Surigao City, Mainit, San Francisco, and Sison have been affected by the quake, according to the DSWD.
Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo reiterated her call for residents to remain calm and be attentive to warnings and advisories from their local authorities. – Rappler.com