Gov't gives P41.1-M in aid to families affected by 'Urduja'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 19) — Government agencies shelled out more than P41.1 million (US$818 thousand) aid to families affected by Tropical Storm Urduja, which wracked Eastern Visayas since Saturday.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), through the local government units, handed over P35,560,766.64 in assistance.

Of this allotted amount, P35,560,766.64 was allocated to Eastern Visayas for relief operations in the provinces of Biliran; Leyte; and, Eastern, Northern, and Western Samar. These were the most affected areas because of landslides and flooding which forced people to evacuate their homes.

Meanwhile, local government units  themselves provided a total of P1,253,575.00.

About 244,121 families in 1,669 barangays in Regions IV-A, V, VI, VII and VIII were affected by Urduja, of which 28,959 or almost 12 percent have stayed in 365 open evacuation centers. As of Tuesday, around 11,670 are still staying in the centers.

Urduja, which was then a tropical storm, carried rain at a slow speed of 5 to 7 kph within a 500-km diameter range. Coupled with the seasonal northeast monsoon Amihan, Urduja dumped heavy heavy rains in the regions, which triggered flooding and landslides, according to state weather bureau PAGASA.

The tropical depression exited the Philippines on Tuesday, but left 41 dead and 45 missing.

READ: 41 dead, 45 missing as TD 'Urduja' leaves PH; country girds for 'Vinta'

In an interview on CNN Philippines, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Duterte administration will do what it can to assist Biliran province.

"The President pledged that the national government will do all that it can to help the province of Biliran rise up again from this tragedy. He promised the delivery of food packs, he was informed that 10,000 food packs are on its way from Cebu and other cities," Roque said.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday visited the province to assess damage wrought by Urduja. Houses reportedly toppled over due to landslides-as local disaster officials claimed that at least 23 have been killed, while 33 were missing.

DSWD Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel Leyco said the National Relief Operations Center (NARO) will continue to produce food packs to help families recover.

"The NROC will be on 24/7 shift to produce 479,000 food packs this December to respond to those affected by Urduja and in preparation for the possible effects of yet another weather disturbance which may soon enter the country," OIC Leyco said.

The National Food Authority has also handed out 10,464 bags of rice to local government units which are ready for distribution.

A low pressure area (LPA) in the Philippine Sea is expected to track along the same course as Urduja, PAGASA claims. If it enters the so-called Philippine Area of Responsibility and intensifies into a tropical depression, it will be named "Vinta."

Roads re-opened

Three road sections that were closed in Region IV-B and Eastern Visayas Region have been opened to traffic, the Department of Public Works and Highways - Bureau of Maintenance said.

As of 12 noon, the following roads have been opened:

  • Dr. Damian Reyes Memorial Road Boac Side in Marinduque;
  • Naval-Almeria Road in Biliran;
  • Mainit- San Miguel- Santol Road, Santol- Carayray Section- Taghawili Bridge Approach in Leyte.

Other roads remain closed due to road slip, landslides and flooding.

Romblon

  • Sibuyan Circumferential Road, Tinimbawan Bridge (RCPC) Detour Bridge in Romblon

Biliran

  • Naval-Caibiran Cross Country Road (Naval-Calumpang Section);
  • Biliran-Naval Road
  • Biliran-Naval Circumferential Road

Leyte

  • Bagahupi-Babatngon-Sta.Cruz-Barugo-Carigara Road
  • Jaro-Dagami-Burauen-Lapaz Road
  • Libungao-Matag-ob-Palompon Road
  • Kananga-Tungonan Hot Spring Road

Damage to roads in Regions IV-A, V, VIII and CARAGA hit an estimated P578,978,043.00, according to reports from the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRMMC) and the Department of Public Works and Highways in Region IV.

Meanwhile, damage to agriculture go as high as P21.6 million according to the Department of Agriculture's local office in Region IV-A. The NDRRMC pegged agricultural damages in Region V at P3,758,043.