By Martin Sadongdong
The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) disclosed Saturday that more relief items were being delivered to tens of thousands of families affected by the magnitude-6.9 earthquake that hit Davao del Sur and its adjacent provinces last week to brighten up their Yuletide season.
OCD Administrator Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad said the delivery of shelter materials, donated items and food packs was on-going for the 31,998 families displaced by the quake and still staying at 31 evacuation centers.
He said that, aside from the food and non-food items immediately distributed after the quake struck on December 15, two water filtration units were already bound for Davao port while a unit of mobile kitchen from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was also deployed to Malalag town.
There were also least 125 units of dome tents and 488 blankets delivered to the regional office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-11) for distribution.
At least 1,875 family food packs were also delivered to Matanao town while 2,269 food packs and drinking kits were sent to Barangay Poblacion in Magsaysay town. Some 300 units of blankets were turned over to the local government unit of Malungon for distribution.
“[The] transportation of the relief items and the deployment of quick response force (QRF) are being handled by the AFP,” Jalad said, as he noted that the military’s C-130 aircraft was also utilized to transport the food and non-food items to those who need it the most.
Meanwhile, three more helicopters were prepositioned for the continuing rapid damage assessment and needs analysis in affected areas, Jalad said.
The earthquake has since claimed 12 lives while 210 others were injured, said Jalad, who also serves as the executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
Of the fatalities, three were noted in Padada where a three-storey grocery store collapsed; two in Matanao where the epicenter of the quake was traced; and one each in Magsaysay, Bansalan, Digos City, Hagonoy, Sulop and Malita in Davao Region (Region 11). One more fatality was recorded in M’lang, North Cotabato in Soccsksargen (Region 12).
He also mentioned that 10 barangays in Magsaysay town continued to experience water interruption.
The Digos-Makar Road also remained closed to the public due to road slop, hanging pavement and damaged guardrails, he added.
“Further assessment by the DPWH [Department of Public Welfare and Highways] regional and disrict offices is being done to determine the extent of damages and the structural integrity of major roads, bridges and other public buildings,” Jalad said.
In total, at least 14,172 houses; 48 public infrasructures, 380 schools, 25 health facilities, three roads, 14 bridges and 90 other structures sustained damage due to the earthquake.
As of 12 p.m. Friday, 1,017 aftershocks have already been recorded by authorities, 457 of which were plotted while 93 were felt.