Quake update: Relief efforts in full swing

February 8, 2012 11:11 pm 

MANILA, Feb. 8 — Three days after a magnitude 6.9 earthquake hit Western Visayas and some parts of Northern Mindanao Monday, a massive relief effort by various government agencies and the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is now under way.

The PRC Emergency Response and Medical teams were deployed immediately to the worst hit areas in Guiholngan City, La Libertad and Jimalud, all in Negros Oriental.

PRC officials said the teams are conducting rapid assessment of the situation and provide immediate assistance to the affected families, reported that most of the residents who were still in panic due to the series of aftershocks still being felt in the area, have sought refuge to higher grounds for safety.

Around 200 families sought shelter in the compound of Guiholngan district hospital where 50 patients were confined due to earthquake related injuries.

Pablito Nilo of the PRC Emergency Response Unit (ERU) team, said most of the patients were outside the old hospital building for fear that the building might collapse due to aftershocks.

PRC has set up a huge tent as temporary emergency hospital for the patients. It will also distribute dressing kits provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The team led by Jojo Natividad, technical officer of the Emergency Reponse Units, said 11 bridges have collapsed in Negros Oriental rendering roads impassable and leaving some barangays isolated. Many roads were also blocked by landslides. The team had to try alternative routes to reach out to the affected families.

The team also reported that several houses and infrastructures including the community church were heavily damaged. Power and water sytems in Guiholngan were also damaged, according to PRC.

PRC said the immediate needs of the affected families are water, food and sleeping materials.

PRC, with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRCRSC), is set to distribute to affected families 500 food packs (5 kilos of rice, 5 packs noodles and 5 tins sardines), 1,000 bottled water, 1,000 mats, l.000 blankets and 500 jerry cans.

PRC social workers are on their way to the site to provide psychosocial support to the traumatized affected families and to facilitate tracing of the missing persons. <P>PRC Chairman Richard J. Gordon and PRC Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang have ensured that immediate assistance will be provided to the affected families.

For its part, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will donate P2 Million worth of food supplies to help and assist the victims of the earthquake that hit Negros Oriental and Cebu last Monday.

The amount will be used to purchase bottled water, instant noodles, biscuits and other goods for the victims of the tremor.

The AFP Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Jessie D. Dellosa instructed the AFP Finance Center (AFPFC) to transfer the money to the Central Command AFP through its Procurement Service in Cebu for the purchase of said items.

Dellosa also directed the deployment of AFP’s air and naval assets in the affected areas to transport and assist in the distribution of relief goods and further support the ongoing rescue and relief operations.

The Philippine Air Force has dispatched five UH-1H helicopters from the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM) and Eastern Mindanao Command (EASTMINCOM) and an S76 aircraft while the Philippine Navy deployed three naval ships in the coastal areas of Negros and Cebu.

BRP Subanon AT291 left WESTMINCOM today en route to Cebu while two gunboats, BRP Emilio Aguinaldo PG140 and BRP Jose Andrada PG370 are already positioned in the coastal areas of Dumaguete City to ferry water treatment equipment and relief goods to Guihulngan City.

Earlier Wednesday, the Philippine Air Force dispatched a C-130 aircraft carrying two water purifying units that can distill 22,000 liters of water a day to Negros Oriental.

AFP Reservists have already joined in the ongoing disaster relief operations in Negros Oriental.

It deployed its 703rd Civil Defense Center along with the Philippine Army’s 79th IB and 32nd Division Reconnaissance Company in Brgy. Solongon, La Libertad while the 11th IB headed by LtC Ramil Bitong was deployed in Brgy. Planas, Guihulngan City.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines is doing all its best to support the ongoing rescue and relief operations in Negros Oriental. We will work tirelessly to assist those who are in need of help as we are at the same time hopeful to save more lives,” Dellosa said.

“We also value and recognize the active participation of our Reservists and other partners of the organization particularly the NGOs whose efforts were very helpful in the conduct of our operations,” Dellosa added. (PNA)

lgi/JCA

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