80,000 spend Christmas in evacuation centers
Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - December 24, 2015 - 2:26am

MANILA, Philippines — While the rest of the country were busy preparing noche buena or attending parties, more than 80,000 persons displaced by typhoon "Nona" spent Christmas eve inside evacuation centers on Thursday.

Data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) showed that 80,885 individuals or 16,833 families were still inside 304 evacuation centers a week after the typhoon left the country.

A huge majority of the evacuees, 60,921 of them, were from Central Luzon, specifically Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan and Pampanga.

The NDRRMC said 45,832 of the Central Luzon residents displaced by "Nona" were from Nueva Ecija.

A total of 13,416 of the more than 80,000 evacuees were from the Mimaropa region, particularly in Oriental Mindoro.

Meanwhile, 5,870 persons from Northern Samar in Eastern Visayas were still inside evacuation centers as of yesterday. In Bicol, the number of evacuees was at 678, all of them residents of Sorsogon.

NDRRMC spokesperson Mina Marasigan gave assurance that the evacuees would not celebrate Christmas with empty stomachs.

"Our social workers are continuously providing them assistance. We do not know if they prepared something special (for evacuees) but for sure, they will be having food on the table," Marasigan told The STAR in a phone interview on Thursday.

"They won't go hungry during this season," she added.

Marasigan said humanitarian teams are continuously receiving food donations like rice and canned goods.

"The local governments and the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) are trying to make the evacuation centers as comfortable as they can," she said.

The large number of evacuees can be attributed to the large number of houses damaged by typhoon "Nona." A total of 279,487 houses have been damaged due to the typhoon, 98,371 of them totally destroyed.

The loss of shelters, however, is not the only problem hounding typhoon-struck areas during the Christmas season.

A total of seven cities and 59 towns were still experiencing power interruptions as of yesterday, according to the NDRRMC. Power supply has yet to be fully restored in parts of Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya, both in Cagayan Valley region.

Marasigan said the stakeholders in the power sector are working closely to ensure the immediate restoration of power in affected areas.  She said the National Electrification Administration, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, and electric cooperatives are coordinating with each other to address the matter. 

A total of 130 areas remain flooded as of Thursday. These areas are located in the provinces of Pangasinan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, and Tarlac.

Typhoon "Nona" has left 42 persons dead and four others missing. The typhoon also damaged about P6.46-billion worth of agriculture and infrastructure in Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol and Eastern Visayas.

BICOL AND EASTERN VISAYAS BULACAN AND PAMPANGA CAGAYAN VALLEY CENTRAL LUZON DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT EASTERN VISAYAS IN BICOL ISABELA AND NUEVA VIZCAYA MARASIGAN NUEVA ECIJA QUOT
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