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Earthquake damage at P13.33M

In just two days, damage and losses incurred by the Department of Agriculture (DA) from the series of earthquakes and aftershocks that struck Mindanao last month reached P13.33 million from an initial estimate of P4.55 million.

The agency’s disaster risk reduction management operations center (DA-DRRMC) reported on its Facebook page on Thursday that the increase was attributed to additional damage reported in Davao del Sur, where a 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit.

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DA-DRRMC said several agri-infrastructure were damaged including rice processing centers, solar-powered irrigation systems office and laboratory buildings, cold-storage facilities, farm-to-market roads, diversion dams, and warehouses.

The earthquake also destroyed DA guesthouses and bunkhouses.

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Agriculture Secretary William Dar said three technical teams had been organized to assess and validate other agricultural facilities that were damaged.

The DA continues to provide relief support with other agencies.

The government may need at least P4 billion to sustain relief operations and rebuilding efforts on earthquake-affected regions in Mindanao in the next five months.

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council executive director Ricardo Jalad said this was the rough estimate he presented to President Duterte on Wednesday night’s Cabinet meeting.

“What I presented to the President is just the estimate now of some requirements for the sustainment of relief operations for five months mostly from (the Department of Social Welfare and Development), including its interventions like cash-for-work and emergency shelter assistance, and the relocation of houses,” he said.

Jalad said the President assured him that he would issue a memorandum for implementing agencies to initiate project proposals and work on financial plans so the funds needed for relief and rehabilitation can be released soonest.

At the same meeting, defense officials pushed for more earthquake drills to raise public awareness for disasters.

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For its part, the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. said members needing medical care  in earthquake-affected areas may have access to PhilHealth benefits.

Meanwhile, Mr. Duterte wants hollow blocks to get mandatory quality checks before they are used in the market.—WITH REPORTS FROM TINA G. SANTOS, JULIE M. AURELIO AND ROY STEPHEN C. CANIVEL

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TAGS: Department of Agriculture, disaster risk reduction management operations center, Mindanao earthquake
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