Red Cross to augment disaster response equipment in Isabela, Cagayan
CITY OF ILAGAN—The Philippine Red Cross will augment the equipment needed for disaster response and rescue efforts in flood-hit provinces of Isabela and Cagayan, said Sen. Richard Gordon, PRC chair.
Gordon led the PRC’s relief operation in the flood-ravaged Barangay Sipay in this city on Thursday. At least 4,000 relief packs, including hygiene kits and drinking water, were donated by the PRC in the two provinces.
The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged the Cagayan government for its failure to meet minimum disaster preparedness standards for local governments.
In its 2019 report, the COA said Cagayan had no adequate equipment for response and rescue efforts. These included power banks, flashlights with batteries, and first aid and emergency medical kits.
“As a result, lives and properties of the province’s constituents may be at greater risk,” the COA said.
Gordon said that since Cagayan is along the longest river in the country, its local government “should not neglect its people.”
On Nov. 14, floodwater reached rooftops of houses in low-lying villages at one point. The flood was due to the incessant rains that swelled the Cagayan River and raised the water level of Magat Dam.
The PRC distributed galvanized iron sheets and crop seeds to Isabela residents whose houses and farms were destroyed by typhoons two years ago.
Cycle of disaster
“Farms were destroyed again. This cycle of disaster must be stopped. The dredging of water [in Cagayan River] must be serious, not ‘ningas cogon’ (short-lived),” Gordon said.
Gordon also visited the newly built Isabela molecular laboratory, which would be operational soon. He said he would ask the Department of Health to map out a plan to include mass testing for evacuees. —VILLAMOR VISAYA JR.
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