Aid finally reaches coastal towns in Davao Oriental

MANILA, Philippines - Now that a road on the north route is finally passable, more relief goods are reaching coast municipalities in Davao Oriental, specifically the hardest hit towns of Boston, Cateel and Baganga.

The road has opened up land access to the towns, which were previously isolated and unreachable after typhoon "Pablo" (Bopha) ravaged the area. The municipalities are now accessible through the Bislig-Baganga route, while another temporary detour is currently being constructed in Palma Gil Bridge.

The detour is expected to open by Saturday, December 8, further adding opportunities to reach victims.

“Help now has a faster way to reach our kababayans in Boston, Cateel, and Baganga because we can now get to them by land. Before relief goods and other assistance are delivered using only sea vessels which takes longer. Even choppers can only carry so much,” said Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas.

Meanwhile, the south route via Mati City, Davao Oriental's capital, is still unavailable after roads were destroyed by winds and rains.

Added support

Relief goods had earlier been delivered to victims only by way of water.

Shipowners and banca operators are assisting in the relief operations, as are fishing vessels “Edwin 8” in Mati City and “Zandrei” in the town of Governor Generoso, all on standby to ship relief goods to affected towns.

Additional vessels “Rashell” and “Twin” also sailed from General Santos City to Mati to provide further assistance while vessel, “Red” has also been dispatched to assist in the search and rescue operations for missing fishermen.

For nearly a week, the 3 coastal towns have been isolated from the rest of the province, making it difficult for the 150,000 residents there to receive much-needed relief goods.

As of 7pm Friday, December 7, more 500 are reported dead, mostly from Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, another badly hit area.

After visiting both provinces Friday, President Benigno Aquino III said he will declare a state of national calamity in the wake of the massive destruction caused by Pablo. - Rappler.com