CATEEL, Davao Oriental The provincial government here, in close coordination with the World Food Program have started on Wednesday the fourth round of massive distribution of relief goods in the three typhoon-ravaged towns of Boston, Cateel and Baganga this province.
Relief goods of rice, sardines, drinking water and clothes.
Officials of the government of Australia, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNCHR) and the World Food Program (WFP) arrived in the provincial capital City of Mati Wednesday morning to meet with Governor Corazon Malanyaon to discuss about their humanitarian assistance to the typhoon victims.
The Australian embassy in Manila in a statement, told the local government officials here that the Australian government will extend US.3 million or P307-million in assistance to the typhoon victims in the Davao Region. They will provide food, safe drinking water and temporary shelters to thousands of affected families and to people with disabilities.
In hardest-hit areas, Australian Embassy Charge d Affaires Andrew Byrne said the Australian government will support activities to protect and counsel traumatized children.
This assistance reflects the Australian peoples commitment to helping our friends in times of need. I hope Australias humanitarian assistance can help some of the worst-affected families to rebuild their lives, he said.
Byrne added that the number of people requiring food, water and health services is staggering.
Meanwhile, Malanyaon said the relief goods for typhoon victims are only good for 10 days that will cover until Christmas day.
The fifth round of relief distribution is set on December 28, she said.
Provincial disaster officials here reported that super typhoon "Pablo" has displaced 49,337 families all over the province. The combined population of the three isolated towns of Boston, Cateel and Baganga was placed at 104,575 or twenty percent of the provinces total population of 517,618.
Despite, strong preparations that includes forced evacuation of residents of coastal villages, the typhoons strength was simply overwhelming that it flattened practically all structures in the three towns, leaving behind an unimaginable destruction that left the three towns isolated and without power more than two weeks after the typhoons onslaught.
The governor also assured all donors that the distribution of aids for typhoon victims was being done in an organized manner to ensure a speedy and equal distribution of relief goods.
We were allowed the use of two Navy boats to dispatch goods and ferry relatives of affected families to these areas. We have also dispatched trucks through Lingig, Surigao del Sur to bring relief goods for Boston and Cateel. So far, we have already facilitated the distribution of relief goods to a total of 41,483 families, and still continuing with relief and rescue efforts, Malanyaon told Australian government officials here.
Breakdown of Australias package of assistance are as follows:
-- AUS million (P84 million) -- pre-positioned emergency, food and health supplies through the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), World Food Program (WFP), and United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA) which are already being distributed to families in the worst-hit areas;
-- AUS million (P126 million) -- response to the UN appeal, including rice stocks through the WFP, emergency shelters through Habitat International, livelihood support through the International Labor Organization (ILO), and health supplies through the UNFPA;
-- AUS million (P84 million) -- to provide access to clean and safe water for 25,000 people, emergency shelter for 3,500 vulnerable families, and set up safe child-friendly spaces for 3,000 children through Oxfam Australia, Save the Children Australia and Caritas Australia; and
--AUS$ 300,000(P12.6 million) -- to non-government organizations working in Mindanao to assist specific emergency relief needs of persons with disabilities.
It has been two weeks since the typhoon struck and the road to recovery is still a long way to go. We are tied up with providing relief for now but we are already foreseeing the more arduous job of rehabilitation ahead of us. Some lives were sacrificed. People lost not only their properties but more importantly their means of livelihood. Structures have to be rebuilt. Power lines have to be fixed. The road to normalcy may be long, but I still believe we can surmount this great challenge. We have to work harder and work together as one with a common and urgent goal of rebuilding, Malanyaon said.(PNA)