CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – The Zamboanga City government on Monday, January 16, announced it would scale up the distribution of aid to include families outside evacuation centers who were affected by widespread flooding caused by days of heavy rain.
The local government said communities in at least 50 villages were hit by floodwaters and landslides, affecting more than 16,000 families or roughly 50,000 people.
The rain, wrought by a low pressure area (LPA) that lingered off Surigao del Sur, pounded Zamboanga City for several days. The city saw the worst of the bad weather on Wednesday, January 11.
The LPA has affected many other areas in Mindanao. As of Monday afternoon, it was located 180 kilometers east northeast of Surigao City, Surigao del Norte, or 245 kilometers east of Maasin City, Southern Leyte.
In a statement, Zamboanga City Social Welfare and Development Officer Socorro Rojas said aid for flood-affected families not in evacuation centers would begin this week after lists submitted by barangay officials have been finalized.
The initial relief operations focused on families who fled to evacuation centers, although Zamboanga City Mayor John Dalipe has already been leading workers in going to the villages to give families relief goods.
Rojas said all flood-affected families, regardless if they were in evacuation centers or flood-damaged homes, would receive assistance from the government.
On Saturday and Sunday, January 14 and 15, local officials led the distribution of relief goods in the villages of Patalon, La Paz, Tulungatung, Cawit, Calarian l, Tugbungan, Tetuan, Divisoria, Lunzuran, and Putik.
The relief goods from city hall and other government offices such as the social welfare department in the Zamboanga Peninsula region consisted of rice, canned goods, and hygiene kits.
The Zamboanga City Health Office has also started distributing doxycycline capsules and vitamins to evacuees and residents of flood-hit communities as a preventive measure against leptospirosis and other waterborne diseases. – Rappler.com