Disaster council assures it is ready to assist Albay evacuees

THE National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) assured on Tuesday, January 23, that the government will be able to sustain the needs of about 50,000 evacuees affected by the eruption of Mayon Volcano in Albay province.

NDRRMC spokesperson Romina Marasigan said the local and national government agencies are working together to ensure that the supplies needed by the evacuees in Albay, particularly food, medicines and non-food items, are in place.

“Meron naman sa regional office na ayuda, hindi tayo nagpapa-zero sa mga evacuation centers na kung kelan ubos na ubos na saka tayo nagbibigay ng ayuda. Ang sistema ‘pag nakikita na baka mae-extend ang stay ng evacuees, nagbibigay na agad ng additional,” she said.

“Imagine, this is a situation na kaya ng ating regional office. Meron pa naka-prepositioned pero agaran ang national council nagpapadala na ng karagdagan pa at sinasabi nila kahit abutin ng three months makakapagpadala pa rin tayo ng karagdagang ayuda,” she added.



Marasigan said, however, that the council could not provide cash to the affected local government units as requested by Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara.

“Kinapos na rin kami ng mga mask. ‘Yung mga maskara. Kinapos na rin. Naubos na rin 'yung stock namin at itong pagsustain namin sa pagkain ay kakapusin na rin kami niyan dahil padami ng padami. Saka ito tatagal itong eruption na ito, pwedeng umabot ito ng more or less more than one month at sunod sunod ang buga,” Bichara said in a television interview.

(We have run out of masks. Our food supplies are running low. The eruption could go on for more than one month.)

“Kailangan namin ngayon ng tulong galing sa NDRRMC. Kailangan wag na silang masyadong ano... padala na lang sila ng pera dito kami na magliliquidate, kami na bahala don kung san ginamit 'yon,” he added.

(We need help from NDRRMC. They should just send us the money and we will just liquidate our expenses.)

However, Marasigan said they cannot give in to the governor’s demand as they are following protocols in providing assistance during disaster response.

She said what they can provide are the food and the non-food items, but not cash.

“It is important that you have to understand na meron tayong protocols na sinusunod lalo na sa pagbibigay ng ayuda sa ating kababayan. ‘Yung sinasabi na money na ibibigay para sa local government hindi po ‘yan provided sa protocols natin, hindi tayo allowed na mag-download ng pera sa LGU para sa pagbibigay ayuda sa ating mga kababayan kahit merong disaster sa inyong lugar,” said Marasigan.

“What we are allowed is to provide you with are the food, non-food items, medicines, and other items that you really need at ‘yan ay pinoprovide na ng ating ating pamahalaan sa kasalukuyan. Tubig, pagkain, kulambo, lalagyan ng tubig, mga malong,” she added.

In its update, the NDRRMC said a total of 12,214 families or 48,614 persons from Camalig, Guinobatan, Ligao City, Daraga, Tabaco City, Malilipot, Sto. Domingo and Legazpi City have fled their homes.

The said areas are situated with the 6-kilometer permanent danger zone and 8-kilometer extended danger zone of the Mayon Volcano.

It said that the government has already provided P26.87 million worth of assistance to the affected population.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has raised Alert Level 4 over Mayon Volcano, which means that hazardous eruption is expected within hours or days and the permanent danger zone has been widened to a radius of eight kilometers from the summit. (SunStar Philippines)
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