Eastern Visayas

Eastern Visayas LGUs, groups send aid to Southern Leyte in time for Christmas

Brynch Bonachita
Eastern Visayas LGUs, groups send aid to Southern Leyte in time for Christmas

Southern Leyte aims to deliver relief aid by Christmas Eve to all towns affected by Typhoon Odette.

Southern Leyte Provincial Information Office

Governor Damian Mercado is asking for packing and transport volunteers as most roads reopen

TACLOBAN CITY – The Southern Leyte provincial government on Thursday, December 23, made a callout for volunteers to pack and transport to towns devastated by Typhoon Odette the relief aid sent by Eastern Visayas local governments and civic groups, and foreign aid agencies.

The province also announced on Wednesday, December 22, the arrival of 800 sacks of rice, a portion of its 5,000-sack purchase from the National Food Authority.

Governor Damian G. Mercado said he immediately sent 150 sacks to Liloan town, in the northern part of Panaon Island 289.8 km from the provincial capital, via the Central Nautical Highway.

RELIEF FOR CHRISTMAS. Southern Leyte government workers prepare to pack relief aid for towns affected by Typhoon Odette. Provincial Information Office photo

The province is speeding up the delivery of aid in time for Christmas, which thousands of families will spend in evacuation centers, said the governor.

Mercado declared a statement of calamity on December 20 to hasten the purchase of relief and rehabilitation needs and the delivery of goods to affected communities.

Southern Leyte Governor Damian Mercado declares state of calamity on December 20. Provincial Information Office photo

The Southern Leyte provincial disaster risk reduction and management council (PDRRMC) on December 21 released a partial count of evacuees: 6,689 in Maasin City; 2,655 in Macrohon; 3,440 in Padre Burgos; 207 in Limasawa; 132 in Malitbog; 379 in Tomas Oppus; 1,369 in Bontoc; 4,864 in Sogod; 1,149 in Libagon; 327 in Liloan; 1,661 in San Juan; 481 in Anahawan; 261 in Hinundayan; 1,132 in Hinunangan; 1,544 in Silago; 1,369 in Pintuyan; and 880 in San Ricardo town.

The PDRRMC is updating its count as all Southern Leyte major roads have re-opened, except for San Ricardo, a fifth-class town on the southernmost tip of Panaon Island.

Mercado’s latest aid update mentioned food and non-food donation from the provincial governments of Northern Samar and Eastern Samar, Palo town in Leyte, the Tacloban City Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals, Second Chances Philippines, the National Grid Corp of the Philippines, IOM UN Migration, 546 Engineering Construction Battalion, United Frontliners Party List and Tingog Party List. 

Aid from these LGUs and groups is now being processed or already enroute  to the towns of Tomas Oppus, Bontoc, Hinundayan, Hinunangan, Silago, Macrohon, Limasawa, Pintuyan, Malitbog and San Francisco. 

Paying back

Borongan City in Eastern Samar sent 145 sacks of rice to Maasin on December 17, just a day after Odette hit the region. On December 21, Borongan also delivered 2,000 corrugated sheets, 25 tarp rolls, 100 jugs of purified water, 20 boxes of umbrella nails, 2,000 loaves of bread, and 200 sacks of rice.

“This is our way to reach out to the victims of the Super Typhoon Odette. Like Siargao and most of the severely affected places in the Visayas and Mindanao, we’ve been hit by strong typhoons before. We, the people of Borongan, know how hard it is to recover so we are doing our part,” said Mayor Jose Ivan Agda in a statement.

Other heads of provinces and cities devastated by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013 have also sent help, saying they were paying back the goodwill shown to them.

Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez on December 21 delivered relief goods and sent a medical mission to San Juan town. “Aside from the 300 sacks of rice, water, and medicines we also brought the medical service of the city health office,” Romualdez said.

OUR TURN. A Tacloban City worker loads water for San Juan town in Southern Leyte in this December 21 photo. Tacloban Information Office photo

Ormoc Mayor Richard Gomez on the same day announced the deployment of five health staff, three sanitation personnel, and two drivers to do public health services. The Ormoc City health department also sent water donated by refilling stations in the city.

The governor, appealing for patience from residents of affected towns, said the province will distribute relief goods and other supplies to Libagon, Sogod, San Ricardo, Anahawan, San Juan, and Saint Bernard as soon as possible.

Mercado said the Philippine Coast Guard will help deliver 650 sacks of rice to San Ricardo and the island municipality of Limasawa. – Rappler.com