Relief goods for Bohol stuck at town proper; distribution problem surfaces
MANILA, Philippines — Stockpiles of relief supplies have been stuck in the poblacion (town proper) without reaching affected families in remote barangays (villages) to date, the head of the country’s disaster agency said Sunday, five days after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the Visayas.
Eduardo Del Rosario, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said they have left the distribution of relieve goods up to the local chief executives of the affected provinces and municipalities.
He, however, acknowledged that local executive officials have not been able to mobilize hundreds of volunteers needed to deliver supplies to barangays cut off from the poblacion because of damaged roads and bridges.
“When we talk of relief goods I can say we have more than enough. There are a lot of people who want to help, there are many people helping,” Del Rosario said in a briefing Sunday.
“The way I’ve seen it in the last two days that I was there, we have adequate relief supplies. The problem is the distribution. In Carmen (Bohol), thousands of relief goods are just stacked there. The problem is the distribution of these relief goods to remote barangays,” he said.
He said they have turned over the relief goods to local government units and have left the distribution up to the local officials.
“We are talking about hundreds of thousands of people (affected by the earthquake) and the manpower that would be required to deliver these goods, walking two to three hours to the barangays that have not been visited. It really requires manpower mobilization,” Del Rosario said.
“What we need is the leadership of local government units. The local chief executive should be very strong together with the local disaster officer,” he added.
He said the Region VII disaster operations center could tap the services of the Philippine Air Force to deliver the relief supplies.
However, the PAF has very limited air assets.
Del Rosario also admitted that they have not provided enough temporary shelters for the tens of thousands of families who lost their homes in the earthquake.
The NDRRMC chief said that as of Sunday, they were still waiting for the tents promised by different agencies.
At least 36,645 homes were damaged or destroyed, mostly in Bohol.
Official data said 28,165 homes were “partially damaged,” while nearly all the 8,480 homes reported “totally damaged” were in Bohol.
Del Rosario said the cost of rebuilding homes would be more “substantial” than the estimated cost of rehabilitating destroyed infrastructure, which the Department of Public Works and Highways has estimated to reach at least P750 million.
“So we can just imagine the magnitude of the damage to the private sector and this is the main reason why the displaced persons need tarpaulins, family tents because they are sleeping outside,” Del Rosario said.
He said they preferred to have tents like the ones provided by the World Food Program that were sturdy and could provide ventilation at the same time.
“We hope the tents that will be sent by the different government agencies and NGOs will soon arrive,” he said.
The death toll has reached 185, again mostly in Bohol.
Of those killed, 172 were in Bohol, 12 in Cebu and one in Siquijor.
The nine persons reported missing came from Bohol.
Meanwhile, at least 583 persons were injured, mostly in Bohol.
Of the injured, 489 are in Bohol, 89 in Cebu, three in Siquijor, one in Negros Oriental and one in Iloilo.
As of Sunday, 22,816 families or 113,227 persons are housed in 93 evacuation centers while 55,769 families or 257,268 persons are outside evacuation centers.
He said the NDRRMC would make available starting Tuesday, October 22, cash assistance for the families of those who were killed or injured in the earthquake.
The affected families have to show death certificate to receive P10,000 in assistance, and a certificate of confinement to receive P5,000 in assistance.
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