Relief actions stepped up for typhoon victims

CAGAYAN DE ORO. Relief operation is not only restricted in providing foodstuffs, medicines and shelter but also on psycho-social aspect to victims of tropical storm “Sendong” that devastated this capital city of Misamis Oriental, indicated the report of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) region X, signed by its chairperson Ana Castillo Caneda, who is also acting as regional chair of the Officer Civil Defense (OCD).

This came as a lot of survivors need psychosocial assistance to regain normal life because of unexplained trauma and ordeal they have gone through at the height of the typhoon “Sendong.” One survivor, whose identity was not revealed, took his life at one of the evacuation centers here where he was sheltered, according to the council report. Speculations ran high that he wasn’t able to cope with the thought of losing his loved ones.

On the same vein, most immediate necessity of the thousands of the victims is shelter even as several thousands of them wanted to return to where their dwellings were situated before. The attempt of those who wanted to return and those who have already gone back to their former homes gave a big headache to the law enforcers.

Psychosocial, Child protection

Director Caneda, who is a Tagbilaranon by blood, said that psychosocial intervention and child protection are underway together with Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which already served a total of 55,051 families and 285,972 persons in the affected areas of this city, Iligan City and the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon and Lanao del Norte.

Ms. Vicky Obedencio Sumanpan, a professor of the Mindanao University of Science and Technology (MUST) based here, bared in an interview that the university is organizing experts in providing similar intervention to help the victims.

Psychosocial support is an approach to victims of disaster or violence to foster resilience of communities and individuals. It aims at easing resumption of normal life, facilitate affected people participation to their recuperation and preventing pathological consequences of potentially traumatic situations.

DSWD has already organized and facilitated the Child Protection Working Group for this purpose while Mr. Jordan Apat of Philippine Service of Mercy Foundation (PSMF) provided orientation to the group on programs and services for children protection needs in evacuation centers (ECs).

In Iligan City, 19 Debriefers from DSWD General Santos and Cotabato City conducted stress debriefing to 180 adults inside the ECs while here some 13 Debriefers: ( 5 from DSWD Region XI, 3 from DSWD X and 4 from CSWDO Gingoog City, 1 from Dela Salle University) also conducted stress debriefing to 326 persons inside the ECs; 154 persons outside ECs or a total of 480; of which 133 are children and 347 are adults.

Along with this intervention, the council also “enforced the need to use the Self-Reporting Questionnaire provided to all camp managers and psychosocial teams to help screen for victims. Tis is being followed up on patient being given psychotrophic medications in various ECs.”

Medical assistance

Aside from psychosocial approach, medical teams were also deployed to various ECs, Caneda said.

Outbreak of Leptospirosis here and other towns of Misamis Oriental especially those who were affected by flashflood brought by TS Sendong now afflicted a “total of 200 charts and records of admission and outpatient consultations from different hospital in Cagayan de Oro City has been reviewed from December 29-31, 2011. Out of these records 128 fitted the case definition of suspected LEPTOSPIROSIS cases, the report said.

Hospitals in Cagayan de Oro was placed in Code Red especially Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) even as medical conducted charts and records review to validate the increase in the number of leptospirosis cases. Massive prophylaxis to all affected individuals using the Direct Observe Treatment  Scheme has conducted by both the DOH-CHDNM and City Health Office (CHO) personnel as medicines, drugs and supplies to government hospitals including private institutions have been augmented.

Emergency purchase and procurement of drugs and medicines needed for the treatment of morbidities arising after the flood has been pushed through and cooperation/coordination among infectious specialists to be available in all institutions both government and private is enjoined.

The council has ensured the availability of drugs, supplies and medicines at all times in all government and private institutions apparently to treat and give immediate attention to the victims while “follow-up declaration of support to all flood victims who are non-members to be covered by PHILHEALTH Insurance was announced.”

Shelter, Tents

Sec. Jesse Robredo, who visited here recently ordered the PNP to implement the Presidential Directive on the No-Go Zones declared Inhabitable/non-buildable areas. In his visit here, President Benigno Aquino III declared most of the areas here swept away as inhabitable.

Dir. Ana Cañeda met with Police Regional Office Director PCSupt Jufel Adriartico to discuss the prevailing situation of affected families that have gone back to the areas where their dwellings were washed out plans for re-building their shanties especially at the delta areas/ sandbars on Cagayan de Oro River. “PCSupt Adriatico gave directives to the City Police Directors of CDO and Iligan to strictly implement the prevention of people from going back to these danger zones as ordered by President PNOY,” said the report

Action plan on the temporary relocation of survivor families to available spaces, such as erecting tent areas in Lumbia and Calaanan, Canitoan of this city are also drawn.

Celcar Gumonit, 25, married and of Vistal roots in Carmen town, said in an exclusive interview that he won’t return to his former dwelling in Isla De Oro, an island in middle of Cagayan river formed through silt over time because of the ban. This island along with neighboring Isla Delta was cleared of dwellers literally following the rampaging flashfloods swept them away. His family, wife Donna, 27 and kids, Cyril, 4 and Clint John 2 escaped the tragedy and safe, he said.

For her part, Virgilia Salas, along with her husband and children who were spared from the flashfloods that swept her house in Tibasak, barangay Macasandig of this city, vowed to stay put since they’ve nowhere to go except the lot entrusted to them by her landlord whom he did not name. Now they’re settling a makeshift made of light materials. She said she blamed city government for no immediate action was prompted to help them and other victims.

Cost of Damage

The cost of damage of houses, infrastructure and agriculture has not been quantified well but estimates have been released.

In Bukidnon, a total of Php391,222,812 has been estimated for 18,075 houses partially damaged and 9,144 totally wrecked. Some Php969 million (plus) being estimated for infrastructure damage.

There was no estimate of damage in CDO in 7,317 houses partially damaged and 4,959 totally damaged houses. But infra damage cost the government some Php775 million (plus); Lanao del Norte, Php160 million; and Bukidnon, Php30.8 million, said the 49-page report made available to this writer.

Affected number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) here is now summed up to 87,485 or 16,966 families in 46 barangays (57%) out of 80 baragays of this city. The city evacuated some 12,212 persons or 2,969 families in different ECs in covered courts and mostly in public elementary schools.

In Iligan City, a total of 85,264 IDPs or 20,114 families have been displaced affecting 30 barangays while Bukidnon had 145,603 IDPs or 29,618 families of at least seven (7) municipalities of Manolo Fortich, Talakag, Impasug-ong, Libona, Baungon and Valencia.(RVO)


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