Aquino visits Typhoon Lando victims in Cabanatuan
MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III visited families affected by Typhoon Lando (international name Koppu) in Nueva Ecija, two days after the typhoon made landfall in Central Luzon on Saturday, October 17.
Aquino, together with Social Welfare Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Juliano Soliman, led the distribution of relief goods to 294 families at the Nueva Ecija High School in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija.
Aquino, a source said, was originally supposed to visit either the municipality of Santa Rosa in Nueva Ecija or the town of Sta Maria in Bulacan, but opted to change destination due to impassable roads.
"There are areas [where] we have no communication and no electricity, but there are less and less areas that are somewhat isolated. Cabanatuan, in fact, was part of the list of those isolated, that's why we are here," Aquino said in an interview during the relief operations.
The onslaught of the typhoon shocked residents, who said it is their “first time” to experience massive floods in the province. (READ: Two farmers die saving their carabaos in Cabanatuan City)
Cabanatuan Mayor Jay Vergara, in an interview with dzMM, said the city would be inaccessible for 36 more hours. (READ: Typhoon Lando: 'Worst floods' in Cabanatuan history)
Out of 89 barangays, Vergara said, 82 are affected by the typhoon.
Classes at all levels in the province of Nueva Ecija have been suspended for Tuesday, October 20.
The President said Typhoon Lando is an extra challenge as it is a “lingering typhoon,” which makes its effects felt longer. Despite this, Aquino is satisfied with the response of his cabinet.
“So, the government, I think, has responded to all. Casualties so far, hopefully, will not climb. But again we will not take any chances and we will try to ensure that we are on the side of being conservative and making sure that everybody is protected during this time,” he added.
He also warned people in affected areas not to return to their homes yet, as heavier rains are expected Monday night until Tuesday.
“They think it is safe already to go back to their communities but we are preventing them right now because the expectations from tonight and after tomorrow, a lot of this rainfall that fell on the northern portion of Luzon will be coming down and will be affecting all of these barangays near the major river systems,” Aquino said. – Rappler.com