NDRRMC sends relief to flooded Santa town in Ilocos Sur
MANILA, Philippines – The government's disaster agency has asked the military to conduct reconnaissance flights and send troops to the coastal town of Santa in Ilocos Sur, following reports Typhoon Ineng has caused widespread flooding and made some of its island barangays inaccessible by boat.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) during its noontime briefing on Saturday, August 22, discussed the possible air evacuation of residents of the flooded islands.
"As of today, the island barangays have experienced knee-deep flooding. They are evacuating seniors, sickly, and children to the barangay centers," Director Allan Tabell of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) reported in a noontime briefing of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
Santa is surrounded by waters – West Philippine Sea in the west and the Abra River in the North.
"There are no casualties. Most areas near Abra river are floooded. Most fields are submerged by floodwaters," Tabell added.
NDRRMC executive director Alexander Pama has ordered the Philippine Air Force to conduct reconnaissance flights to validate the reports and ordered the regional Office of Civil Defense to send troops to the area.
The military committed to send the 81st Infantry Battalion to valide the reports, assist the local government units, and help establish communication lines where cellphones signals are not operational.
The Philippine Air Force was also directed to prepare its assets in nearby San Fernando Air Base located in La Union.
Typhoon Ineng killed at least 6, almost all of them from landslides, and affected nearly 8,000 in the Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley Region, and the Cordillera Administrative Region.
The Philippine Coast Guard has imposed a no-sail policy in the affected areas.
DSWD: No shortage
In an interview on state-run dzRB on Saturday, August 22, Welfare Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman stressed that her department has no shortage in relief goods for those affected by Typhoon Ineng.
“Nagulat nga po kami sa ulat na nagsabi ‘yung MSWDO (Municipal Social Welfare Development Office) sa Gonzaga na nagkulang (We were shocked by the reports of shortage by the MSWDO in Gonzaga),” Soliman said.
“Nagulat lang daw po siya ‘nung tinanong namin dahil 400 po ‘yung hawak niya at the time ‘nung siya ay ini-interview at ang kanyang evacuees po na pamilya at that time, which is kahapon po ‘yon, ay 137 po. So ngayon magdadagdag po mula Tuguegarao para sa kanila, so hindi po naman tayo nagkukulang,” Soliman explained.
(He was only shocked when we asked because he had 400 food packs during the interview, and his family evacuees at that time, yesterday, was 137. But now supplies form Tuguegarao will be added to them, so there’s no shortage.)
Soliman said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) prepared a total of P470-million-plus worth of food packs for Regions I, II, and CAR. (READ: DSWD prep relief goods for Typhoon Ineng-hit areas)
She emphasized that DSWD's National Resource Operation Center has over 100,000 goods on standby, in cases of additional needs.
Soliman also clarified that food packs are procured in the areas where they will also be used, to save on spending.
"Halimbawa, ‘yung Region II, ‘yon ‘yung pinaka-apektado ngayon sa Cagayan. Sa Tuguegarao po ‘yan pino-procure o kaya sa Isabela para hindi na po malaki ‘yung gastos ng pagmumulan dito sa ating Kamaynilaan (For example, In Region I, the most affected is Cagayan. Supplies are procured in Tuguegarao or Isabela so that expenses won't be big if they're sourced from Manila)," she explained.
Cooperation, agri funds
Aside from the DSWD, the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Department of Health are also expected to be prepared for typhoons like Ineng, according to Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte.
"First of all, the President instructed frontline agencies to prepare and preposition their assets so they may help local governments affected by Typhoon Ineng," Valte said in Filipino, stressing that basic medicines and mobilization equipment should be part of the relief goods.
When asked if the Department of Agriculture could increase its budget to cope with the expected impact of El Niño, Valte said the 2015 budget is already fixed, but that calamity funds may be tapped.
Valte added that quick response funds are made available to concerned agencies.
“Moving forward, that same item is also present in the 2016 NEP (National Expenditure Program) that government proposed,” Valte said. “So these are precisely the incidents, or at least instances, where government puts away or proposes budget to Congress para ma-address po natin nang mabilis ‘yung mga ganitong sitwasyon (so we can readily address these situations). – Rappler.com