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Storm damage in Batanes: P255M

/ 03:52 AM September 18, 2016
BATANES fishermen live off the seas and know how to deal with the storms that are regular occurrences  in their province. But Typhoon “Ferdie,” which tore through their homes, was considered as bad as 1987’s Typhoon “Neneng.”EV ESPIRITU/INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON

BATANES fishermen live off the seas and know how to deal with the storms that are regular occurrences
in their province. But Typhoon “Ferdie,” which tore through their homes, was considered as bad as 1987’s Typhoon “Neneng.”EV ESPIRITU/INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON

BASCO, Batanes—Residents here are waiting for ships loaded with construction materials so they could begin rebuilding their homes after Typhoon “Ferdie” destroyed crops and infrastructure worth P225 million when it struck on Tuesday night until Wednesday morning.

Power may take two months to be restored in parts of Luzon’s northernmost islands, when strong winds blew down homes, government facilities and roads and bridges.

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Damage to the power system was estimated to cost P20 million while P40 million was the estimated damage cost for homes that needed repairs or rebuilding, at least in Batan Island, according to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO).

The towns of Basco, Mahatao, Ivana and Uyugan are on Batan.

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Communications have not been reestablished in the islands of Itbayat and Sabtang, which have not transmitted damage reports as of Saturday.

Canceled flights

Flights in and out of the islands are still canceled due to another storm, Gener. The province was placed under storm signal number 1 on Saturday.

The Batanes PDRRMO said the Batan towns needed to repair government buildings which incurred damages worth P83.2 million. The typhoon left roads and bridges with damages of up to P4.5 million, waterworks with P12 million in damages, lost crops worth P52 million, dead livestock worth P2 million and lost fish harvests worth P1.5 million.

Gov’t response

Gov. Marilou Cayco ordered the provincial government’s engineering office and general services office to purchase construction materials, but three cargo vessels shipping these materials have not yet arrived.

All families in Batan Island have been given food packs containing 10 kilograms of rice, canned goods, sugar, milk and chocolate drink.

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In a text message sent to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Batanes Bishop Camilo Gregorio lamented how national government response had been slow.

“We are safe but suffering. Financial aid needed. Please pray for us, we are still surviving. No government assistance at all,” he said.

He appealed to CBCP and all its charity foundations for help.

On Friday evening, concerned netizens from Batanes launched an online campaign to solicit donations to help residents recover. “Mission Sidung Batanes” was started through a post on Facebook by Basco native James Andrew Castillo, seeking cash and other forms of donations, such as bottled water, canned goods, candles and flashlights.

Heeding a request made by Cayco, local businessmen lent 12 trucks to help clear and clean the roads.

Local residents Enrique Melad Jr. and Emma Adarme sent out generator sets and water pumps to provide the neighborhood with potable water.

Fifteen families and 19 construction workers were still at the evacuation center at the elementary school in Basco as of Friday night, the PDRRMO said.

People here compare Ferdie to Typhoon “Neneng” which hit Batanes in 1987. Although many equate the strength of Ferdie to 2013’s Typhoon “Odette,” the howlers Ferdie brought were similar to Neneng’s onslaught, many residents said. Juliet Cataluña and Melvin Gascon, Inquirer Central Luzon

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TAGS: batanes islands, Regions, Typhoon "Neneng", typhoon Ferdie
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