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Relief to quake-hit areas in full swing

Jose Rodel Clapano - The Philippine Star
Relief to quake-hit areas in full swing
Volunteers repacked relief goods for the areas affected by the earthquake at the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) warehouse in Pasay City on Friday.
STAR / Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — Help has finally reached the remote areas of Abra affected by Wednesday’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) airlifting foodpacks to distraught residents.

The DSWD’s field office in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) arranged for the difficult delivery with the military’s Tactical Operations Groups 1 and 2 of the Tactical Operations Wing Northern Luzon, 505th Search and Rescue Group, and 24th Infantry Battalion “Wild Cat B.”

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), through its Northern Luzon Command, confirmed the use of its air assets – two S-70i Black Hawks, two UH-1Hs and one PZL W-3A Sokol – for transporting the relief goods.

Troops from the 4th Infantry Battalion, ROTC cadets and other reservists provided manpower for unloading and distribution of the goods.

The next task, according to the DSWD-CAR, is to send 350 family food packs to Bokod, Benguet, and 402 to Mankayan, Benguet with the help of the 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company and the Police Regional Office Cordillera.

In addition, some 7,900 food packs from the National Resource Operations Center of the DSWD in Pasay City are on their way to other affected areas with the help of 2Go Travel company.

Through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) of the DSWD, P35,000 in financial and burial assistance was provided to the family of a fatality in Benguet.

As of press time, more than P5 million worth of humanitarian assistance has been provided to affected families by the DSWD CAR field office, including the 750 family food packs distributed in Bangued, 2,966 in Bucay, 1,118 in Lagangilang, and 517 in Villaviciosa.

Meanwhile, the AFP continued its humanitarian effort by deploying its regular troops under the 71st Infantry Battalion and the 101st Ready Reserve Battalion for clearing operations in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur.

A Philippine Army team also assisted the GMA Kapuso Foundation in delivering three truckloads of essential supplies for affected families in Abra last Friday.

PRC assistance

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has also intensified its relief operations by deploying seven ambulances to the hardest-hit provinces of Abra and Ilocos Sur.

PRC chairman Richard Gordon said they have, so far, distributed 1,200 containers of bottled water, 176 food items, 46 sleeping kits, 666 hygiene kits, and 720 face masks in the two provinces.

Gordon said their volunteers have also put up three welfare desks for psychosocial first aid.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) meanwhile is also finding ways to help displaced workers.

“The activity will include referral, placement, and the conduct of job fairs in the region,” Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma

“Other recovery measures will include employment facilitation through the PESOs,” said Laguesma, referring to the Public Employment Services Offices (PESOs).

DSWD

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