34,553 families affected by Oriental Mindoro oil spill, says NDRRMC
MANILA, Philippines — The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) on Sunday said that the oil spill in Oriental Mindoro has so far affected 34,553 families in Mimaropa and Western Visayas.
The NDRRMC released the latest assessment on affected families during the National NDRRMC’s Full Council Meeting on Thursday, March 23, which was attended by 43 government agencies.
“As of today, the oil spill has affected a total of 34,553 families in Regions Mimaropa and Western Visayas as well as the livelihood of 13,654 fishermen and farmers,” the NDRRMC said in a statement.
The NDRRMC then vowed that it will further strengthen various government agencies’ joint efforts in its ongoing response operations and in addressing the impacts of the oil spill.
“We have further mobilized all the concerned agencies to help end the oil spill at the soonest time possible. The damages to the environment, livelihood, tourism, and health worsen by the day,” said Office of the Civil Defense Administrator and NDRRMC Executive Director Ariel Nepomuceno.
A total of more than P131 million estimated cost of humanitarian assistance from the government, LGUs, non-governmental organizations, and other partners have also been provided to the affected families.
Tanker suffered extensive structural damage before sinking
Meanwhile, during the meeting, the NDRRMC also presented updates from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), which determined — with the assistance of the remotely-operated vehicle from a Japanese vessel that arrived on Monday — that the MT Princess Empress tanker suffered “extensive structural damage” before submerging, with oil leaks observed from all its eight compartments or tanks.
However, the volume of the remaining oil inside these compartments has yet to be determined.
The NDRRMC said that it is currently prioritizing hiring a marine salvor to do bagging, sealing, patching of all identified leaks, and hot tapping and siphoning of the cargo oil on board.
The PCG, on the other hand, will continue with its offshore containment, recovery operations, deployment of additional floating assets, and prepositioning responders with shoreline booms and other appropriate marine pollution containment and recovery equipment in the identified coastal communities in the spill trajectory.
The PCG also said that it seeks to obtain support from its United States counterparts based in Oriental Mindoro in identifying available resources of needed equipment and other strategies.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), for its part, reported the conduct of a rapid assessment in nine municipalities in Oriental Mindoro, stressing the need to conduct further impact assessments and economic valuation of damages to habitats, in order to develop a long-term restoration and regeneration plan.
To recall, MT Princess Empress, which was carrying 900,000 liters of industrial fuel, sank on Feb.28 in Oriental Mindoro, causing an oil spill that reached several provinces, including tourist sites and beach destinations.
12 Mindoro towns affected by oil spill — DENR
Low-level contaminants found in fish in oil spill areas
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