Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Senator Richard Gordon emphasized on Tuesday, Dec. 21 the importance of restoring top destinations devastated by Typhoon Odette to its former beauty as many of these areas depend on tourism.
In a statement, PRC said that the typhoon wreaked havoc on Bohol, Cebu, and Surigao del Norte, which depend largely on tourism, leaving billions in damage affecting infrastructure and transportation in the said provinces.
PRC said that according to the Department of Tourism (DOT), Cebu and Bohol were the top tourist destinations in the country, while Siargao Island was famous among young travelers and divers. The report said the country earned the US $9.31 billion in 2019 but crashed by 82.1 percent in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We need to act fast to restore these places to their former beauty,” Gordon said.
Ipinadala namin ang ating payloaders upang maclear ang daan at makarating ang tulong sa mga nangangailangan. Nagpadala din kami ng humanitarian caravan na mayroong generators at non-food items upang maabutan ng tulong ang mga naapektuhan ng bagyo lalo na yung mga umaasa sa tourism (We have deployed our payloaders to clear out roads so that help will be extended to those in need. We also deployed our humanitarian caravan that has generators and non-food items for those affected by the typhoon especially those who rely on tourism),” he added..
PRC immediately deployed a humanitarian caravan on Dec. 17, to assist the hardest-hit provinces affected by Typhoon Odette. The said caravan is composed of 17 people, a water tanker, two hot meals on wheels food trucks, a payloader, an ambulance, a tractor head with low bed trailer, a wheeler cargo truck with shelter tool kit and a generator inside, and a 6×6 truck to boost the PRC’s response and provide much-needed relief to the typhoon affected areas.
Gordon also tasked the organization to provide food trucks as an immediate response to distribute ready-to-eat hot meals at the evacuation centers at the height of the typhoon. To date, more than 22,301 individuals have received hot meals. Payloaders were also sent to clear the roads of debris to allow access to other relief goods.
PRC installed welfare desks and satellite dishes in Surigao del Norte to help restore communication lines. The VSAT satellite communication will help stranded tourists contact and reconnect with their families.
“Tourism is close to the heart of Chairman Gordon as he was once the Secretary of the DOT from 2001-2004 where he introduced the WOW Philippines campaign,” PRC said.
“Ang tourism ay isa sa pinakahuling nakakabangon kapag hinagupit ng bagyo. Kaya katuwang ang Red Cross staff at volunteers, patuloy ang pagsasagawa ng relief operations upang matulungan ang mga tao na umaasa sa tourism. Natamaan man ng bagyo at pandemya, tayo ay babangon at muling makakatayo sa sarili nating mga paa (Tourism is one of the last to recover from calamities. That’s why together with Red Cross staff and volunteers, we continue to conduct relief operations to help people who rely on tourism. Despite being hit by both a typhoon and pandemic we will rise again on our own two feet),” Gordon said.