CAR hardest hit by ‘Ompong’, Baguio diocese appeals help for victims

CAR hardest hit by  ‘Ompong’, Baguio diocese appeals help for victims

Rescuers continue to look for dozens who were buried by landslide caused by Typhoon Ompong in Brgy. Ucab in Itogon town, Benguet, September 17, 2018. CIRIACO SANTIAGO, CSsR

By Fr. Mickey Cardenas

September 17, 2018

Baguio City, Philippines

“We need your help in Benguet especially for the families and individuals at the evacuation centers.”

This is the appeal given by Fr. Manuel Flores, Jr., Social Action Coordinator of the Diocese of Baguio, as the latest post-typhoon assessments revealed that, of the various areas in Northern Luzon, the majority of the casualties are in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) which was badly hit by landslides.

The number of people killed by typhoon “Ompong” (International name “Mangkhut”) climbed to 65, as of Sept.17, with 54 of the fatalities coming from the Cordilleras.

Reports from the Philippine National Police (PNP) indicated 43 individuals remain missing, 42 are in CAR.

Potable water, food, blankets, beddings

Flores said that while evacuees in Baguio City are now going back to their respective homes—as the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC) declared it clear of danger of floods—a number of the municipalities of Benguet are still isolated due to landslides.

According to Flores the most affected are those communities along the Kennon Road.

“The whole municipality has about 253 families—more than 1,000 persons—in evacuation centers with the majority in Camp 4.

“According to the Tuba-MDRRMC, they need more relief goods. The most urgent needs are potable water, food, blankets and beddings.

“Our pre-positioned goods are now almost totally distributed in the evacuation center, you may wish to send some financial donations that would help us to buy those needs, especially in evacuation centers in the Benguet side,” the priest said.

The Social Action director also disclosed that the evacuees of Itogon, sheltered in Bua Evacuation Center (EC), are still in need of more blankets and beddings, food rations and potable water. The number of families there can reach up to 147.

“We also welcome volunteers who are qualified to extend ‘debriefing services’ to the affected families and individuals at evacuation centers in Benguet. This help is needed since some of the evacuees are having concerns with what they have experienced.”

“Rescuers and volunteers are also needed especially in clearing operations and retrieval operations. Sadly, the number of casualties is increasing,” Flores added.

How to help

Those who would like to help can send their donations to the Caritas-Baguio Office, Diocese of Baguio, Bishop’s Residence, Fr. Carlu St., Baguio City.

Monetary donations can be deposited at the BPI Account Name: Diocese of Baguio; Number: 0571001764.

The Social Action Director also informed that the timetable for relief operations is now being formulated as the northern Benguet municipalities still have to send their situation reports that have been hampered due to the interruption of communications and road networks.

“Hopefully reports about their condition will be known by today,” Flores said.

The priest conveyed his gratitude towards “the kind-hearted people helping the affected families in the evacuation centers and providing for the needs of the rescuers and volunteers since we need to take care of them as well”.