Gov't planes bring relief goods to isolated Aurora towns
AURORA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Two government planes on Wednesday morning, October 21, carried thousands of relief goods to Aurora, one of the provinces worst hit by Typhoon Lando (international codename Koppu).
It was the first time relief goods from national government were flown to the province in the aftermath of the typhoon.
The typhoon made landfall in the town of Casiguran here early Sunday morning, October 18, leaving "100%" of infrastructure damaged and the place hardly accessible, according to first responders.
According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the first C-130 plane, which left Manila past 7 am, carried 842 food packs from the national government. About 500 packs will be distributed in Casiguran, while the rest will be for Baler.
The second plane – another C-130 – left past 8 am, carrying 658 food packs and thousands of non-food items including malong, blankets, and mosquito nets:
- malong - 270 pieces
- blankets - 1680 pieces
- mosquito nets - 1968 pieces
The planes had to unload first in Baler before one of them proceeded to Casiguran, which is more than 100 km away from the provincial capital of Aurora.
Based on figures from the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) as of Wednesday morning, about 4,961 families or 23,411 individuals were affected by Lando in Aurora alone. (READ: Typhoon Lando: 26 killed, nearly a million affected)
Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, a former congressman of Aurora, said that aside from bringing relief goods, rebuilding infrastructure must be a priority in the province, since many of its towns are still recovering from the damage left by Typhoon Labuyo in 2013.
The NDRRMC Response Cluster on Wednesday also deployed an 8-member team that will look into any assistance needed by typhoon-hit areas in Aurora. The team will establish a response hub in Casiguran and will stay there for up to 15 days.
"The team will be there to augment the efforts of the local government units. The LGUs will still be the lead in the disaster operations," DSWD Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Soliman said.
Lando's cost of damage to agriculture and infrastructure in Northern and Central Luzon provinces has already reached P5 billion as of Tuesday, October 20.
Lando has since weakened into a tropical depression as of this writing and is expected to be outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility by Monday morning, October 26. – with a report from Voltaire Tupaz/Rappler.com