DSWD: Expired Seniang food packs distributed by accident
MANILA, Philippines — Only two food packs contained expired relief noodles in Negros Occidental, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said on Wednesday, December 31.
DSWD clarified earlier reports of expired relief goods distributed to Tropical Depression Seniang (Jangmi) survivors in Silay City, Negros Occidental.
The expired noodles were leftovers from the last batch of relief goods intended for Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors in September 2014. The City Social Welfare and Development Office admitted that the noodles were accidentally distributed, “without checking the condition of their contents.”
The Department stressed that the goods were meant to be distributed immediately.
DSWD regional offices are monitoring relief operations in other local government units (LGUs) to prevent such accidents. No similar incident was reported so far.
Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman instructed DSWD regional offices to remind LGUs about the “immediate distribution of relief goods” before they expire.
As of New Year’s Eve, Seniang has already claimed 53 lives, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). Seniang affected 226,883 persons.
DSWD is currently assisting LGUs in the affected parts of Visayas and Mindanao.
Relief goods are available upon the request of LGUs. This includes canned goods, high-energy biscuits, noodles, and blankets.
Aside from DSWD, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government released over P10.7 million ($238,843) worth of food packs and relief goods.
Among affected areas in Western Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, and CARAGA, 23 houses were completely destroyed, while 51 more were partially damaged, DSWD disaster teams reported.
Social workers will be on call during the New Year festivities. As of Wednesday, DSWD reported that the 15,277 families or 65,995 persons staying in 283 evacuation centers are now “safe and their immediate basic needs are addressed.”
President Benigno Aquino III directed the government to mobilize “all resources needed to provide relief and assistance” to affected families.
The high casualty count is “accounted for largely by landslides in Catbalogan, Samar and Tanauan, Leyte, and flashfloods in Ronda, Cebu province,” NDRRMC reported.
Nineteen died from the Catbalogan landslide, 10 from the landslides in Tanauan and Mahaplag in Leyte, and 13 from flashfloods in Ronda, Cebu.
Seniang ravaged 839 barangays across 5 regions. However, 80% of all reported casualties were accounted for only by the landslides and flashfloods in 3 localities. This is similar to what happened in December 2012, when Tropical Storm Sendong (Washi) caused floods due to continuous rainfall over a 24-hour period.
“Citizen awareness and community preparedness are vital elements in minimizing casualties,” stressed Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo.
He urged Filipinos to pay closer attention to weather bulletins, observing not just wind strength but also the projected rainfall volume.
Seniang also left several roads impassable, which the DPWH has been trying to restore.
DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson announced that the Catbalogan section of Daang Maharlika is now passable, as well as the portion from Benit Port to Tacloban, and the Mahayahay section of the Agusan-Davao road. — Rappler.com
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