The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has extended financial assistance to the families of the victims of Severe Tropical Storm Vinta, which caused heavy flooding and landslides in several provinces in Mindanao, particularly in Zamboanga del Norte, Lanao del Norte, and Lanao del Sur; and displaced thousands of families in other parts of the country.

Residents seach for their missing loveones on the eve of Christmas day, Sunday December 24, 2017 in the flood hit town of Lala in Lanao del Norte in the southern Philippines after a tropical storm hit Mindanao.

DSWD-Field Office (FO) XII Regional Director Bai Zorahayda T. Taha on Monday distributed cash aid to the bereaved families of the victims from several affected Lanao del Sur towns, including the Municipalities of Bacolod Kalawi, Madalum, Wato Balindong, and Tugaya.

The FO also provided financial assistance to those who have been injured during the onslaught of the tropical storm and is continuously monitoring the status of other affected families who are still staying in the evacuation center in the region.

Other DSWD-FOs  in Mindanao are continuously providing relief assistance to the affected families and individuals, especially those in worst-hit areas.

The Department’s Field Office in Region X on Monday sent 1,000 family food packs (FFPs), 1,000 hygiene kits, and 1,000 malongs to the Municipality of Munai, Lanao del Norte, one of the hardest-hit towns in the province, as augmentation support to the ongoing response of the local government unit (LGU) to the affected families.

Disaster responders from both the FO and the LGU, volunteers, and residents worked hand-in-hand to carry the relief goods across the damaged bridge in Barangay Dalama in order to reach the affected residents.

The Field Office also continues to monitor the condition of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from tent cities in the region who relocated to different schools during the onslaught of ‘Vinta’ for the continuous provision of assistance.

Meanwhile, the Rapid Emergency Telecommunications Team (CO RETT) of the DSWD Central Office has set up emergency telecommunications through Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) terminals and satellite phones at Brgy. Pindulunan, also in the town of Munai. The barangay was severely hit by ‘Vinta’ and is a Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA).

Adequate resources

As of today, December 27, the DSWD has provided a total of P12,778,250 worth of relief assistance to the affected families of ‘Vinta’ in Regions MIMAROPA, VII, IX, X, XI, XII, CARAGA and ARMM, even as the Department readies to send out more.

Latest report showed that 143,188 families or 673,429 persons were affected by the tropical storm in 1,140 barangays in the above-mentioned regions.

Data also showed that the tropical storm left, 1,630 houses totally damaged and 998 partially damaged.  Most of these houses are from Region IX and Region X with 683 totally and 196 partially damaged houses; and 535 totally and 600 partially damaged houses, respectively.

ARMM also reported 348 totally damaged houses and 180 partially damaged houses in the region.

“In light of the devastation left by ‘Vinta’, we are 24/7 even during the holidays to ensure that there is a steady supply of relief goods to augment the resources of the LGUs.  We empathize with the affected families and we assure them of our commitment to assist them in their needs,” DSWD OIC-Secretary Emmanuel Leyco stated.

Thousands still displaced

Based on record, there are still 23,775 families or 111,641 persons staying in 231 evacuation centers (ECs) while some 5,938 displaced families are staying with their relatives and friends.

OIC Secretary Leyco said the affected regional offices, nearby regions and the Central Office are continuously monitoring the disaster operations so that the needs of the victims can be immediately responded to.

“Rest assured that the DSWD has the adequate resources to help our fellow Filipinos in need.  We, at DSWD, are committed to find the quickest way possible to respond to the needs of the affected families and try to help ease their suffering,” he said.

Volunteers still welcome

He added  that volunteers are still welcome to help repack goods at the National Relief Operations Center (NROC) in Pasay City and in other DSWD regional offices.

Yesterday, there were 600 volunteers who came to help in the repacking activities at NROC. With their assistance, the Department was able to produce 41,600 FFPs for distribution to the disaster victims.  (SMS Central Office)