After a series of earthquakes and several aftershocks in Mindanao, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza admitted that there is a humanitarian crisis in the region.
Residents are now traumatized after experiencing the tremors in their respective towns as buildings and homes collapsed.
The following quakes on October 29 and 31 have taken 21 lives. Injured people, based on the recent reports, rose to 432 from only 331, while two persons are missing.
There were also magnitudes 3.2, 3.7, and 3.9 temblors happened yesterday. Their epicenters were within 11 to 22 kilometers around Makilala, Cotabato.
“It is now a humanitarian crisis. Many homes are either destroyed or the owners have left due to numerous aftershocks and fear of structural collapse. There are also landslides that have destroyed many homes. They are all at evacuation centers in need of assistance,” Lorenzana said.
Lorenzana assured that the national government will immediately work with the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (PDRRMCs) and agencies under the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to provide relief goods and assistance.
“I have also directed the army to set up checkpoints on all roads leading to the disaster area to insure that there is order, and that only accredited and legitimate relief groups or individuals are allowed in the area. This will also prevent the kibitzers and curious bystanders from getting in,” he said.
According to the DND Undersecretary and NDRRMC executive director Ricardo Jalad, there are enough supply of relief goods at the evacuation centers. However, he stressed that these need proper management of the distribution system to ensure that everyone is served.
Eastern Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) called on some volunteers to help them distribute the goods to the victims.
Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) established mobile logistic hubs to hasten the distribution to earthquake victims in Kidapawan City. A community kitchen from the agency’s regional office in Region 12 was also set-up in barangay Masilasa in Makilala town.
“DSWD assures that it has enough relief supplies to augment the resources of local government units in Central and Southern Mindanao,” the agency stated.
United hands for Mindanao
The United Nations World Food Program has two mobile storage units that were placed since Saturday at the provincial grounds of North Cotabato in Amas. Each of the logistic hub can accommodate up to 1,600 cubic metric tons of goods.
The DSWD regional office also coordinates with the Philippine Air Force for the transportation of relief goods to remote areas that are impassable because of landslides.
Air Asia and Cebu Pacific, however, are some of the private airlines that extend help in transporting the goods from DSWD for free.
As of Saturday, the DSWD said the provided assistance to a total of 29,349 families is worth more than P6 million. That included 146,745 individuals and 149 barangays in two regions.
“On Nov. 1, troops from the units of Eastern Mindanao Command unloaded cargoes sent by DSWD and Department of Health which were carried by a C-130 at the Davao airport,” it added
Various DSWD field offices have also provided relief augmentation support in coordination with the local government units (LGUs).
The LGUs are also providing psycho-social interventions to the traumatized victims.
Marikina City government donated some 100 modular tents that each can accommodate seven people in Cotabato City.
Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez, meanwhile, sent a 14-man team with emergency necessities at Makilala, Cotabato yesterday, which is on top of the P1 million that Ormoc LGU assured to donate for the relief and rehabilitation of Mindanao.
The Philippine Navy also announced its ready-aid for further need of humanitarian assistance and disaster response of Mindanao people.
However, Jalad, said the goods from markets in the affected regions still have enough supply.
Regional offices said there was no increase in the prices.
“We still have enough resources,” he said as China wanted to extend their help to quake victims, according to Senator Bong Go.