80,000 Nona victims spend Christmas in evacuation centers
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - December 24, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - While the rest of the country was busy preparing Noche Buena or attending parties, more than 80,000 people displaced by Typhoon Nona spent their Christmas Eve in evacuation centers yesterday.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said 80,885 individuals or 16,833 families were still staying in 304 evacuation centers a week after the typhoon left the country.

A majority of the evacuees – 60,921 – are from Central Luzon, particularly in 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 (Mindoro-Marinduque-Romblon-Palawan) region, particularly Oriental Mindoro.

Meanwhile, 5,870 people 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 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 but for sure, they will be having food on the table,” Marasigan said.

“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.

There were even some unexpected donations of Christmas gifts to victims of Nona.

Fifteen-year-old Marwan Masri, the eldest son of a Syrian doctor based in Dubai, has donated his savings worth Dh75,000 – equivalent to almost P1 million – after learning of the devastation brought by the typhoon.

“How could I not be affected?” Masri told Khaleej Times, an English newspaper published in the United Arab Emirates.

“Sometimes the most important decisions in your life are made in a split second,” he was quoted as saying.

Masri, who wants to become a doctor like his father, did not hesitate to donate all of his savings and pocket money as most of the staff in his father’s clinic are Filipinos.

According to the report, some of the employees of Dr. Gehad Al Masri were weeping after they learned that their homes were destroyed because of the typhoon.

The teenager was able to raise the money as his father gives him incentives every time he gets good grades. He has been receiving the monetary rewards from his father since he was eight.

The surge 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 beyond repair. – With Janvic Mateo, Aurea Calica

 

 

ACIRC AUREA CALICA BULACAN AND PAMPANGA CENTRAL LUZON CHRISTMAS EVE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT DR. GEHAD AL MASRI EASTERN VISAYAS IN BICOL NUEVA ECIJA TYPHOON NONA
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