NDRRMC admits COVID-19 added challenge to Typhoon Ambo response
MANILA, Philippines—Responding to the effects of tropical storm “Ambo” became a bigger challenge for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council as it also had to take social distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Office for Civil Defense Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, who is also the NDRRMC executive director, said Saturday that aside from securing the welfare of those inside evacuation centers, they also had to make sure they could respond to the needs of those who have COVID-19 symptoms.
“Napaka-importante ng preventive evacuation, ang challenge ngayon dahil may COVID-19 tayo ay kailangan mag prepare ng evacuation centers at maglagay ng health workers,” said Jalad said in an interview with DZBB. “We have to make sure na kung sakaling magkaroon ng sintomas madala agad sa clinic or hospital.”
(Preventive evacuations are important but now there’s another challenge because of COVID-19. We have to prepare evacuation centers and have health workers on site. We have to make sure that in the event someone exhibits symptoms, we can bring that person immediately to a clinic or hospital.”
As of 12 am Friday, there are a total of 1,648 families or 6,474 individuals evacuated in the province of Samar—the province where “Ambo” made its first landfall on Thursday.
Jalad said that evacuation centers wouldn’t be used to its full capacity to make sure that social distancing protocols are still followed.
Temperature checks are also routinely done and if one exhibits symptoms then that person would be immediately isolated.
So far, the NDRRMC hasn’t recorded any deaths after the onslaught of “Ambo” although there was one person who was injured and two people missing in Region 8.
Jalad added that the NDRRMC has already monitored the areas in Samar where food supply is low. The bureau’s regional offices have also coordinated with the Philippine Air Force to conduct aerial surveys.
The Air Force will also dispatch two C130 cargo planes to deliver relief goods, food packs with one landing in Catarman, Samar while the other also within the territory of the province.
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