By Jel Santos
Families in Visayas and the Mimaropa region (Mindoro provinces, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan), displaced by the onslaught of Typhoon Ursula were assisted by staff and volunteers of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) during the holiday season.
PRC Chairman Richard Gordon said they were working non-stop to provide for the pressing needs of the displaced residents,
“We at the Philippine Red Cross never stop working as our chapters and assessment teams continue to gather reports from Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Western Visayas, and MIMAROPA regions so we can immediately know the pressing needs of the affected population and send the assistance that each particular area badly needs,” he said in statement.
People, according to Gordon, must always be prepared even if the typhoon was projected to be weak.
“This typhoon is like a thief in the night (like a sneaker or the one who sneaks at night), it came unexpected because at first it was just a tropical storm when it entered the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR), we thought it was weak, but it intensified and eventually it became a typhoon amidst the Christmas season, we should really be preparing. From now on, if there is a typhoon, we should treat it like wild animal, we don’t know what it will do,” the PRC chairman said.
A total of 186 PRC personnel have been on-duty since December 24 to respond, assess and send reports of damage to houses and other infrastructure, as well as, flooded areas such as in the town of Paranas in Western Samar, Roxas City and Municipality of President Roxas in Capiz, the PRC said.
The humanitarian organization had served hot meals to 1,279 individuals, including to stranded passengers in different ports (Cebu- 482, Iloilo-771, Masbate-26) and activated regional hubs in Cebu, Passi, Leyte and MandaluyongCity for possible relief/assets withdrawal.
Meanwhile, Red Cross Chapters in affected areas established six welfare desks in Cebu, Ormoc, Surigao Del Norte, and Masbate. Also, seven First Aid Stations were put up in evacuation centers and ports in Ormoc, Cebu, NegrosOriental, Iloilo, Surigao Del Sur to assist stranded passengers.
PRC said 10,587 individuals were sheltered in 35 evacuation centers in Western Samar, Cebu, Surigao del Norte, Occidental Mindoro, Iloilo and Romblon as of December 25, 2019.
In President Roxas, Capiz, 7,694 families or 25,000 individuals were affected including 30 families or 150 individuals sheltered in an evacuation center.
“As a response to Mayor Receliste Escolin’s appeal to help his constituents, definitely we will assist the affected families including those in President Roxas. I ordered PRC – Capiz Chapter Administrator Ray Martinez to coordinate with Mayor Escolin,” said Gordon.
PRC-Operations Center said it also received reports of power supply outages in Western and Eastern Samar, Leyte, Biliran, Aklan and Capizwhile communication lines in most of the areas affected by the typhoons were temporarily cut off.
The Typhoon Ursula, PRC said, left a trail of destruction such as flooded areas caused by heavy rains, destroyed or damaged houses in coastal areas and toppled electric posts, particularly in Eastern Samar, Leyte, Occidental and Oriental Mindoro provinces due to powerful winds.