August 09, 2012
CL officials heighten relief efforts
By: Jess Malabanan
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – Taking advantage
of a fair weather yesterday, government relief
agencies have stepped-up distribution of food
assistance to thousands of evacuees housed in
government buildings, schools and churches in
different areas in Central Luzon, disaster-control
officials told CL Daily.
In Pampanga alone, at least 1,013 families scattered to 14 evacuation centers were the target of massive relief efforts led by Governor Lilia Pineda. Truckloads of ready-to-eat food packages were delivered to flooded areas mostly in the province’s 4th district.
“We have to move quickly, as you know the weather improved a little and will take advantage of it,” said Lulu Alingcastre, acting unit head Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) secretariat.
She said various agencies including the Armed Forces, the Philippine National Police (PNP), Air Force and other government offices have pooled resources to help in the relief efforts. “Military trucks, helicopter and civilian cargo vehicles were mobilized and deployed to distribute food packages,” she added.
Helicopter was used to fly goods to 300 families trapped by flood in Lubao town, said Alingcastre, adding that the provincial government has enough stockpile of goods ready for distribution to flooded areas in the province.
While we distribute relief, Alingcastre said rescue operations are also being conducted side-by-side with the PNP, AFP including Air Force and Army from Northern Luzon Command and 703rd Infantry Brigade in the towns of Sto. Tomas, Minalin, Masantol, Macabebe, Candaba, Sasmuan, Guagua and Lubao.
The widespread flooding was blamed to the breaching of the “tail dike”, the last line of defense against flood, by residents in the City of San Fernando, and nearby southern Pampanga towns.
Elizabeth EstillerBaybayan, acting Provincial Social Welfare Development Officer (PSWDO), said some 81,053 families or 482,253 persons have been affected by flooding in 21 towns including the City of San Fernando since Monday.
“The extent of damage brought by southwest monsoon and severe low pressure area in Pampanga in terms of magnitude is much bigger compared to typhoon Ondoy”, said Baybayan, adding that the provincial government is doing its best to address the basic needs of affected families.
Latest PDRRMC reports have it that floodwater overflows in major rivers including Abacan, Betis River, Mexico Riverand other waterways critical to Pampanga River Basin.
Pineda personally supervised the rescue and force evacuation of families whose houses are threatened by flash flood.
Sandbagging works were doubled in breached dikes including Parian, Mexico,Masantol, Sto. Tomas, Sta. Rita, Lubao, Bacolor and the City of San Fernando.