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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – A naval ship set out from Zamboanga City late Sunday night, December 19, to bring relief aid for typhoon-devastated Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte province.
BRP Ivatan left the Ensign Majini Pier at the Naval Station Romulo Espaldon shortly before midnight with rice, canned goods, coffee, and cereal enough for 7,000 families. The vessel is expected to reach Siargao before midnight on Tuesday, December 21.
The ship is just one of 19 Navy vessels that set out on a mission to deliver relief aid to families who survived the onslaught of Typhoon Odette (Rai) in Mindanao and the Visayas, said Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) commander Rear Admiral Toribio Adaci.
Lieutenant Senior Grade Chester Ross Cabaltera, NFWM spokesman, said each family would receive a box containing six kilograms of rice, four cans of tuna, four cans of corned beef, two cans of sardines, five sachets of coffee, and five sachets of cereal.
The relief goods were provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the Zamboanga Peninsula region.
DSWD officials in the region said the relief aid from Zamboanga would have been sent to Siargao earlier if not for transportation difficulties.
Aside from the Siargao-bound BRP Ivatan, the Navy also sent vessels to deliver relief aid to Dinagat Islands, and other typhoon-stricken areas in Caraga, Northern Mindanao, and the Visayas.
Siargao, an island in Surigao del Norte, was the first to be pummeled by Odette on Thursday afternoon, December 16. The typhoon then unleashed its fury on the neighboring Dinagat Islands barely two hours after making its first landfall in Siargao. – Rappler.com
Frencie Carreon is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.