DSWD extends assistance to Masbate earthquake victims

Published August 21, 2020, 10:14 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said Friday (August 21) that assistance has been extended to the families affected by the magnitude 6.6 earthquake that struck Masbate province on August 18.

This handout photo received on August 18, 2020 from the Facebook page of Javee Vallecer shows rescuers looking for survivors at the site of a damaged house after a 6.6-magnitude earthquake hit the town of Cataingan in the central Philippine province of Masbate. (AFP PHOTO / Courtesy of Javee Vallecer / MANILA BULLETIN)

This even as it assured the public that it has enough resources to augment the local government units’ disaster operations.

“We assure the local government units, especially Cataingan, that assistance is ready. Our staff are currently doing assessment in affected areas to determine the needs of residents,” DSWD Field Office V (FO V) Director Arnel Garcia said in a statement.

The agency’s FO V immediately assisted the LGUs in conducting a rapid damage assessment and needs analysis in the municipalities of Pio V Corpus, Palanas, and Cataingan.

The DSWD reported that as of 10 a.m., August 19, some 66 families or 334 persons have been affected by the earthquake.

It said 11 families or 40 persons are currently seeking temporary shelter at the Cataingan National High School.

In coordination with the Philippine Navy, teh DSWD said about 2,000 family food packs will be delivered to Masbate as part of the DSWD’s augmentation support to the affected LGUs, apart from the tents and rolls of laminated sacks that will be sent to Cataingan.

Garcia said more than 22,000 available family food packs are available for distribution, 884 packs of which were already prepositioned at the Masbate Warehouse.

He said the Field Office has available non-food items worth P24.9 million, and P3 million standby funds that can be tapped for relief operations.

The DSWD said it started extending burial and medical assistance to the affected households under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS),

It said there is also ongoing distribution of cash assistance to families validated with partially damaged and totally damaged houses.

“DSWD continues to coordinate with the provincial government of Masbate for other requests for technical assistance and resource augmentation to ensure that all the needs of their affected constituents will be addressed,” it said.

The DSWD noted that based on Republic Act No. 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 and Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991, LGUs remain the first responders in the occurrence of natural and man-made calamities, while the agency carries out its mandate to provide Technical Assistance and Resource Augmentation (TARA) to the LGUs by augmenting their resources as needed to respond to the needs or requirements of the affected families and individuals in their respective areas.

“The Department also conducts learning and development interventions to capacitate local governments to provide them with the necessary knowledge and skills in responding to calamities and disasters,” it said.