Relief goods ready for Batanes earthquake victims – DSWD

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said that relief supplies are already available for victims of the twin earthquakes that hit Batanes early Saturday morning, July 27.

At least 200 family food packs are ready to be distributed to affected families in hardest-hit town Itbayat, according to the DSWD. At least 8 people died and dozens were injured when the earthquakes struck the province.

On top of that, some 3,600 food packs available for transport are in the capital of Batanes, Basco.

The social welfare department will be providing financial assistance through their team in Batanes. Six social workers will also be deployed to provide psychosocial intervention to the victims.

The field office in Cagayan Valley that caters to Batanes has P700,000 worth of protective services funds apart from the relief supplies. It has 29,132 family food packs in stock and food and non-food items worth P349,602 that can be used as additional resources.

DSWD said that the additional food packs will be airlifted to Itbayat using C290 planes, with the help of the Office of Civil Defense.

DSWD's disaster hub has 1,000 tents and sleeping kits ready for distribution to affected families. 

Itbayat, a coastal community north of Basco, has a population of 2,867, while the entire province has 17,246 residents, according to the 2015 census.

The DSWD team in Batanes is closely coordinating with the local government if other assistance can be extended. If needed, DSWD said, their team is ready to airlift families to Tuguegarao.

The first earthquake struck Batanes early Saturday morning at 4:16 am. Intensity VI was felt in Itbayat, while Intensity III was felt in Basco and Sabtang. 

There were aftershocks recorded, as well as a stronger magnitude 5.9 earthquake past 7 am, which struck east of Itbayat and registered stronger intensities – Intensity VII in Itbayat and Intensity IV in Batanes.

Another magnitude 5.4 earthquake east of Itbayat was recorded at 9:24 am.

The severity of the earthquakes left the Itbayat Church, ancestral homes, and heritage structures badly damaged. –