The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), through its field office (FO) in Eastern Visayas, reported Wednesday it has been providing assistance to 31,511 families or 138,559 persons affected by torrential rains brought by the tail-end of a cold front in Eastern, Western and Northern Samar.
According to the Disaster Response Assistance and Management Bureau (DReAMB), the department has already provided PHP2,512,303 worth of relief assistance to the affected communities through the local government units (LGUs).
DSWD-Eastern Visayas has initially prepositioned 9,000 family food packs (FFPs), 7,225 hygiene kits, and 15,000 malongs in 14 municipalities in Samar affected by the inclement weather.
In addition, the regional office is set to deliver 3,500 FFPs, 1,600 hygiene kits, 3,000 malongs, and 95 cereal boxes in the municipalities of Maslog and Can-avid in Eastern Samar; Catubig in Northern Samar; and Arteche in Eastern, Samar.
Some 12,521 families or 55,129 individuals are staying in 19 evacuation centers while 701 families or 3,505 persons are with their relatives and friends.
Aside from the displaced families, the inclement weather has also damaged 11 houses in Eastern Samar and two houses in San Jose de Buan, Western Samar.
Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo has directed all members of the Social Welfare and Development (SWAD) Team at the provincial level and the Quick Response Teams (QRT) at the regional level to continue monitoring the affected areas for possible augmentation support and technical assistance.
"We are continuously coordinating with local governments in Eastern Visayas to immediately provide for the needs of the affected families. Aside from initial assistance and prepositioning of goods, we shall conduct an area assessment on the extent of the damage brought by the torrential rains and to determine other interventions that are needed by the affected families," she said.
Meanwhile, the DSWD is also monitoring a new low pressure area (LPA) spotted in the eastern portion of Mindanao that could enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Friday (December 23).
Aside from the new LPA, the department is also gearing up for the possible effects of the northeast monsoon affecting Northern Luzon and isolated thunderstorms in the entire Luzon.
Currently, the DSWD Central Office (CO), FOs, and the National Resource Operations Center (NROC) maintain a total of 576,464 FFPs and available Food and Non-Food Items (FNFIs) amounting to PHP556,907,058.20 that can be used to respond to all kinds of disasters that may arise.
There is also a total of PHP134,257,647.79 in standby funds at the CO and FOs, of which PHP86,997,102.65 is available as Quick Response Fund.
"We are expecting a rainy weekend this coming Christmas Day so I urge our 'kababayans' (compatriots) to be well-prepared. The inclement weather will not dampen the Christmas spirit of the Filipino people. Rest assured that the department will continue to provide you updates on our response and preparations for the weather disturbance," assured Taguiwalo.
Source: Philippines News Agency