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Hunger stalks typhoon-hit areas

Residents in coastal villages in Cagayan appeal for food aid after storm surges strike communities
WHERE’S MOM?A boy, whose relatives are among the evacuees staying at the People’s Gymnasium in Tuguegarao City, is left alone near a section of the gym where sacks of relief goods are kept. —RICHARD REYES

WHERE’S MOM?A boy, whose relatives are among the evacuees staying at the People’s Gymnasium in Tuguegarao City, is left alone near a section of the gym where sacks of relief goods are kept. —RICHARD REYES

TUGUEGARAO CITY—Residents in the coastal villages of Gattaran town in Cagayan province are asking for help, after their houses were destroyed by storm surges whipped up by Supertyphoon “Lawin” (international name: Haima) last week.

Jeffrey Tamayo, Gattaran disaster risk reduction and management officer, said relief efforts have not reached the remote coastal communities and residents of Bolos Point are asking that food packs be sent there.

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“They have lost their homes and they are now running out of food,” he said.
Storm surges
The problem of Bolos Point was the first official confirmation of reports that 5-meter high storm surges (the equivalent of a two-story building) slammed the eastern coastline of Luzon mainland.

Aside from Bolos Point, two other coastal villages on the Pacific Ocean side of Cagayan are vulnerable to storm surges: Baguio Point in Peñablanca town, where Lawin made landfall, and Valley Cove in Baggao town.

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Bolos Point (population: 800) is located on the eastern shoreline of Gattaran facing the Pacific Ocean. Of its 12 sub-villages, 10 are on the coastline, Tamayo said.

It is isolated from the rest of the town. Residents take a three-hour boat ride to the San Vicente port in Santa Ana town and another two hours of travel by land to reach the town center.

“We are thankful that there were no casualties, but the damage to the houses was massive,” Tamayo said, quoting a report from village chief Apolinario Unarte.

“We have not received any report from the coastal areas because we have lost contact with DRRM officials there,” said Jae Cabauatan, officer in charge of the Office of Civil Defense in Cagayan Valley.

Two helicopters from the military’s Northern Luzon Command will be airlifting today food packs for residents of Bolos Point.

Cabauatan said they have yet to receive damage reports from the coastal towns of Maconacon, Palanan and Divilacan, all in Isabela province where one person was earlier reported killed.

On Tuesday, Cagayan and Abra province were placed under a state of calamity.

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In Ilocos Norte, Gov. Imee Marcos asked Malacañang to redesign the province’s dike systems upstream of the Solsona Madongan flood control project to protect some 220,000 people living in Laoag City and 10 Ilocos Norte towns.

Lawin destroyed almost P1 billion worth of crops and infrastructure in the province. A series of aerial inspections also noted silted river beds and outdated dike systems which were beyond repair.

Click here for more weather related news.

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TAGS: aid, Cagayan, disaster, evacuee, Lawin, relief goods, risk, Typhoon
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