MANILA, Philippines – A total of 59,851 persons have taken shelter in 213 evacuation centers across 5 regions in Luzon and Mindanao after Typhoon Vinta's strong winds and rain caused deadly floods and landslides.
This figure was reported by Department of Social Welfare and Development Officer-in-Charge Undersecretary Emmanuel Leyco on Sunday, December 24, during a press conference.
The evacuees are in evacuation centers in the regions of Mimaropa in Luzon, Zamboanga Peninsula (Region 9), Northern Mindanao (Region 10), Davao (Region 11), and Caraga.
The number of persons translates to 13,927 families, said Leyco.
In Northern Mindanao alone, 29,478 individuals were reported to be in 89 evacuation centers as of Sunday, 12 noon, according to a DSWD press release. This translates to 7,154 families, said the DSWD.
In this region, the DSWD field office reported that 259 houses were totally damaged due to Vinta.
The department's regional offices have responded to needs of those affected by the storm in various ways.
The DSWD field office in Caraga released 500 family food packs worth P141,900 to affected families in Surigao City.
The DSWD field office in Northern Mindanao provided 254 family food packs to the local government of Lagonglong in Misamis Oriental.
No holiday break
DSWD personnel in Vinta-affected regions are sacrificing their Christmas holiday to respond to the needs of affected citizens.
"We would like to assure the Filipino people that the DSWD is closely monitoring the situation and that our Field Offices in the affected regions continue to operate with no holiday break so we can provide all the assistance that is within our mandate to give to affected families," said Leyco.
Photo from DSWD
Leyco commiserated with those who will not be able to spend their Christmas with their loved ones due to the string of disasters that fell smack in the middle of the holiday season.
"We appeal to the rest of the Filipino people to please spare a thought for our kababayan (countrymen) who have lost their loved ones or those who are now in the evacuation centers and unable to celebrate with their families," he said.
Those who would like to help DSWD in packing relief boxes were invited to visit the DSWD National Relief Operations Center (NROC) along Chapel Road, Pasay City.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.