Japan donates 10,000 bags of rice to Mayon evacuees
CAMALIG, ALBAY —The Japanese government, through its embassy in the country, donated 300 metric tons or 10,000 bags of milled rice to evacuees affected by the abnormal activities of Mayon Volcano.
Embassy of Japan in the Philippines Minister for Economic Affairs Nihei Daisuke, Asean Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (Apterr) Secretary General Manager Choomjet Karnjanakesorn, and Japan Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries representative Akinori Ando handed over the bags of milled rice to Albay provincial officials at Negosyo Auditorium-Albay Farmers Bounty Village on Thursday, Aug. 17.
“The Philippines is one of the most important partners of Japan and we are always ready to extend a helping hand to the Filipino people who are affected by disasters or calamities, particularly the ongoing Mount Mayon eruption,” Daisuke told reporters in an ambush interview.
He said more help would be extended to affected residents, but an analysis of their needs was still being conducted.
Benjamin Nocido, 76, one of the thousands of evacuees living in shelters since June, was thankful for the assistance.
“This is a big help especially that our livelihood was greatly hindered by the Mayon eruption,” Nocido told the Inquirer in an interview Thursday.
In a separate interview at the turn-over, Albay Governor Grex Lagman said the province has earlier received donations from United Arab Emirates and China for the evacuees.
“And hoping there are more countries [that] will help us because we need all the help that we can get. And it feels great it is easy for them to help because we have the data. In fact, we are data-driven from distribution to allocation of help to affected LGUs based on the reports coming from MSWD (Municipal Social Welfare and Development) offices,” Lagman said.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has assured the provincial government of assistance for evacuees.
“Fully provided that’s what Secretary Gatchalian wanted and that warehouses of DSWD should always be filled with relief goods plus non-food items so that all is well for the Mayon evacuees while staying at temporary shelters,” DSWD Disaster Response Management Bureau Director Michael Cristopher Mathay said.
Mayon Volcano remains under alert level 3, which means there is still potential explosive activity within weeks or even days.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology in Albay has recorded 70 volcanic quakes, 31 volcanic tremors, and 123 rockfall events during a 24-hour observation period on Thursday.