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With bridges gone, aid flow disrupted in Davao Oriental


08:36 PM January 21st, 2013

By: Nico Alconaba, January 21st, 2013 08:36 PM

RESIDENTS of a flood-stricken community in Davao City use inflatable boats following nonstop rains in southern Mindanao. DENNIS JAY SANTOS/INQUIRER MINDANAO

DAVAO CITY—Even before they could fully recover, the typhoon-ravaged towns of Davao Oriental are again facing the challenges of nature.

On Sunday, floodwaters destroyed Caraga Bridge, which connects the towns of Caraga and Manay. At the height of Typhoon “Pablo” on Dec. 4 last year, Baogo Bridge, which links Caraga and the eastern town of Baganga, also collapsed.

The loss of the two bridges has completely isolated Caraga.

Mayor William Dumaan said he had asked owners of bancas to ferry passengers crossing Caraga River and ordered that fare be regulated at P30 per person, as well as P50 for each taking a motorcycle ride.

When Baogo Bridge fell, groups bringing relief goods to Baganga, Cateel and Boston have to use bancas in crossing Manurigao River in Caraga or take the longer route via Surigao del Sur. The provincial government uses Philippine Navy boats to transport relief packs from Mati City, an eight-hour travel by sea.

After Sunday’s heavy rain, the approach of another bridge in Cateel caved in. According to Gov. Corazon Malanyaon, only light vehicles are allowed to use Papad Bridge, which connects Cateel and Baganga.

Floodwaters also submerged the makeshift tents of typhoon victims in Cateel and Baganga.

“We’re still talking about how to the deliver the relief goods,” Malanyaon told the Inquirer by phone. She said the rain and the damaged Papad Bridge had “somehow hampered our operations.”

“Maybe when the rain stops, we can continue,” she said. The provincial government had earlier delivered relief goods to the three towns even before the rain came.

In Barangay (village) Lambajon in Baganga, Catholic priest Darwey Clark said his parish had run out of relief goods. “We distributed our last packs on Saturday,” he told the Inquirer by phone.

The parish covers five villages with at least 5,000 families. Clark said that with the rain and destroyed bridges, it would be difficult for donors to transport the relief goods.

The provincial government has “adequate supply,” Malanyaon said. “Even if we go through the longer route (via Surigao del Sur), we will do it just to deliver the goods.”

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