TS Urduja forces evacuation of 640 families from Dinagat Island province

December 16, 2017 - 9:34 PM
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Pagasa satellite image showing weather conditions early Saturday morning, December 16.

BUTUAN CITY – Around 640 families were evacuated from coastal villages in three towns in the province of Dinagat as strong winds and rain swept through much of the island province Saturday morning.

“The number of evacuees here in the province of Dinagat Islands affected by Tropical storm Urduja has reached to as much as 3,200 individuals from 640 families earlier today, December 16. The individuals who are seeking shelter to designated evacuation centers are from the municipalities of Loreto, Tubajon, Libjo and San Jose. The storm has affected the entire island province,” said Rosario Roxas Alon, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer of Dinagat Island.

Alon said the province experienced strong winds and moderate to heavy rainfall as early as December 14.

“We issued an advisory about the approaching storm; then we suspended work and classes because it started to get intense as the storm was getting closer by Thursday, December 14. Then we activated our PDRRMC alert system into Blue. On the same date the order for a preemptive evacuation was immediately given out with the coordination of all the government agencies, and [we] then prepared and monitored everything from the barangay and then to municipal level,” said Alon.

Alon said they have yet to receive the rapid damage assessment and needs analysis from the municipalities, which they will also validate.

Meanwhile, Nenita Bonne Karmyl Batistil, Social Welfare Officer-2, revealed that as of 7 pm, the number of evacuees had gone down to 560 families or 1,347 individuals.

“Several of the evacuees have decided to return to their respective homes. The evacuees have already been provided with relief goods since the start of the evacuation,” said Batistil.

Batistil explained that in situations where the local government units are unable to meet the demand for relief goods, then the province and the regional governments will step in.

“As of the moment the LGUs have been able to provide adequate relief measures to our evacuees, but we are continuously monitoring the situation in case there will be a [bigger] need. We are also yet to receive reports from other parts of the island in their situations,” said the social welfare officer.

Marko Davey Reyes, officer in charge, information office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Caraga Regional Office 13, said their office is ready to provide additional relief goods.

“We are ready to augment in case it will be needed. Based on the assessment of the Quick Response Team (QRT) of DSWD-Caraga, we have 21,112 Family Food Packs (FFP) available. Of this, 17, 537 FFP are stored in Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) warehouse in Tiniwisan, Butuan City ande 2,575 FFPs are prepositioned in strategically hard to reach areas in Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur. We also have non-food items amounting to P3,783,254.74 and standby fund amounting to P27,516,622.41,” said Reyes.

The Regional DRRMC has yet to provide an overall damage and needs assessment for the entire region of Caraga.