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Joei Mendoza on 10/08/2009 at 11:12pm (UTC)

BENNY CLAVERIA on 09/28/2009 at 2:18pm (UTC)
 NDCC: From search, rescue to relief and retrieval

By Katherine Evangelista
First Posted 21:08:00 09/28/2009

Filed Under: Meteorological disaster, Disasters (general), Weather, Government Aid

MANILA, Philippines – The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) has shifted its operations from “search and rescue” to “relief and retrieval” of victims of flashfloods due to tropical storm Ondoy (international name: Ketsana) Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, Jr. said Monday.

In a press briefing, Teodoro said that since floodwaters have subsided in most parts of affected areas in Marikina City, Pasig City, the lower part of Antipolo City and Cainta, efforts would be concentrated on giving relief goods to victims and retrieving bodies of casualties.

In a separate interview after his visit to victims of a landslide in Arayat, Pampanga Monday afternoon, Teodoro told reporters that relief operations for affected victims would be “massive.”

A total of 89,116 families or equivalent to 448,454 persons have been affected by floods which have engulfed 384 villages in Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, the Cordillera Autonomous Region and the National Capital Region.

A total of P109 million worth of damages in infrastructure and agriculture have also been recorded, the NDCC said.

Various government agencies have set aside money for relief efforts, Teodoro said.

“Right now the DSWD [Department of Social Welfare and Development] has set aside 20 million for that alone but there is going to be, probably, more needed as it is,” Teodoro said.

He added that majority of their efforts would be concentrated on the “challenge” of bringing food to those who were stranded in their homes and atop their roofs since the height of Ondoy’s onslaught.

“We’ll just try to divide our resources as judiciously as possible, we have really to man the evacuation centers and the relief centers that the local governments will establish but beyond that we’ll try our best, if possible, to service the people on the roofs but the general concentration of the NDCC is to bring food to the relief center, distribution is a local government duty but we’ll try to help out as we can,” Teodoro said.

When asked if the NDCC has asked for assistance from the international community, Teodoro said that it “depends on the assessment that will be done.”

“Di ba may rapid assessment tayo ano [We have a rapid assessment], based on that we will determine but right now we don’t have the assessment report, we don’t have any basis yet, lets have an accurate basis before we do that,” Teodoro said.

Likewise, the defense chief added that they would have to assess their supply after Monday’s relief efforts before deciding whether or not they would need additional funding for food supply for victims.

“We will make the judgment after we get the report of the assessment,” Teodoro said.

However, Teodoro clarified that although there was a shift in the concentration of efforts, rescue operations would still go on.

“The concentration is relief, if there is anybody for example somewhere else that needs to be rescued, we have to rescue the person,” Teodoro said.

In its latest tally, the NDCC said that the death toll has reached 100 while five persons were reported injured and 32 remain missing.

But Teodoro admitted that these latest figures were still expected to shoot up once the final tally of casualties from Marikina City and the province of Rizal came in.

In a separate interview, the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council of Region 4A has reported a total of 84 deaths, 49 missing and 21 injured as of 11:30 am Monday in Rizal alone.

The NDCC, meanwhile, has only 56 reported casualties, two injured and 20 unidentified missing persons.

In Marikina City, media reports said that a total of 58 persons died in a flashflood in Provident Village after continuous rains caused the Marikina River to swell. The NDCC only had one unidentified victim in its statistics.

“Hindi pa nata-tally dahil walang certification pa ng death e so we cannot really tally [We cannot tally because there is no death certification so we cannot really tally],” Teodoro said explaining the discrepancies in reports of casualties.

The defense chief also apologized for the delay in rescue and relief efforts in some of the affected areas.

“We feel their anger and pain but it is physically impossible to reach each and everyone with the conditions that we face,” Teodoro said.







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