Government helping typhoon victims – Palace
Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) - December 21, 2015 - 9:00am

CLARK FIELD, Pampanga, Philippines – Malacañang yesterday gave assurance that the situation in areas hit by Typhoon Nona and Tropical Depression Onyok were under control, with President Aquino’s possible visit to the victims being arranged.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. stressed the possible visit of the President to affected areas was being readied in coordination with various agencies on the ground.

“We know that before the President goes to a certain place, it is ensured that assistance has already been brought to the area and his visit will not be a diversion from the help needed to be delivered,” Coloma said.

Coloma said the President conducted an aerial inspection of the flooded areas in Bulacan and Pampanga on the way here to attend the 80th anniversary celebration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Authorities had to release water from Angat, Bustos and Ipo Dams due to heavy rains, causing massive flooding in some areas in Bulacan and Pampanga, he said.

On Friday, the President declared a state of national calamity to speed up rescue, recovery, relief and rehabilitation efforts of the government and the private sector, including international humanitarian assistance in the provinces devastated by the typhoons.

Coloma said the local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council led by local officials were ordered to ensure the safety of people, especially those in low-lying areas.

“Based on our monitoring, flooding situation in Bulacan and Pampanga is under control,” he said.

Coloma added relief and rehabilitation efforts were continuing in the areas destroyed by Nona and Onyok and that authorities were expediting the delivery of construction materials for those who lost their homes, totally and partially; and implement cash-for-work program.

He said those in evacuation centers were being taken care of by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

“All the help needed by those affected by the calamity are being delivered at the right time and we do not see any problem or obstruction to these efforts,” Coloma said.

With residents in several towns in the Southern Tagalog region still in evacuation centers, the DSWD Field Office 4-B is still undertaking repacking of family food packs in their office in Malate, Manila.

However, all evacuation centers set up in areas affected by Onyok in Mindanao have been closed.

The DSWD said disaster teams are now coordinating with concerned local government units on the provision of aid to facilitate the recovery of affected families, especially the eight families whose houses were damaged by Onyok.

Onyok has affected a total of 2,721 families or 11,756 people, the DSWD said.

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and its foreign counterparts paid a visit over the weekend to the municipalities of Catarman and Bobon in Northern Samar that were hardest hit by Typhoon Nona to assess the damage and determine what humanitarian assistance would be provided the victims.

PRC chairman Richard Gordon said he immediately dispatched several teams to the area after all communication was lost at the height of the typhoon.

“After receiving initial reports, we immediately went to work and provided hot meals, medical assistance to the victims. We also set up welfare desks in various evacuation centers,” Gordon said.

Gordon was accompanied by Ramsey Rayyis of the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) and Daniel Puillet-Breton of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Gordon and the IFRC and ICRC teams consulted with local officials and other concerned government agencies to evaluate the damage caused by the typhoon, assuring them that heavy equipment such as pay loaders will be deployed immediately to clear the debris.

Health Secretary Janette Garin, on the other hand, advised those who waded in floodwaters to take preventive antibiotic doxycycline against leptospirosis. – With Rainier Allan Ronda, Non Alquitran, Sheila Crisostomo

ACIRC AREAS ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES BULACAN AND PAMPANGA BUSTOS AND IPO DAMS CATARMAN AND BOBON COLOMA DANIEL PUILLET-BRETON OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT GORDON ONYOK
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