Another typhoon-ravaged town in Eastern Samar pleads for help
MANILA, Philippines – With its disaster funds already depleted by coronavirus preparations, Jipapad town in Eastern Samar found itself with no other recourse but to appeal for help as it tries to recover from the trail of destruction left by the Philippines' 1st typhoon in 2020.
Jipapad is among the hardest-hit areas after Typhoon Ambo struck Eastern Samar last week, with a total of 2,387 families in 13 of its villages affected by the typhoon.
A total of 618 houses were damaged by Ambo, according to a report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Tuesday, May 19.
Jipapad is now under state of calamity, along with 8 other towns in Eastern Samar.
In a video posted on the local government's Facebook page, Jipapad Mayor Benjamin Ver said Ambo was one of the strongest typhoons hit the town. He recalled how strong winds cut off electric and communication lines, and how floodwaters submerged houses, and soaked sacks of rice and medicines intended for relief operations. The bridge leading to the town had also collapsed.
Ver also lamented how the municipal government's preparations against COVID-19 had drained Jipapad's disaster funds and made it difficult for the local government to embark on recovery efforts.
"Practically an aton mga pondo han kanan disaster naubos na dara hinin na COVID-19 an preparasyon hini nga aton pag ato han pag pugong hini nga COVID-19 dinhi ha aton nasyon probinsya (Practically speaking, the disaster fund is already depleted due to the preparations made to prevent the spread of COVID-19 transmission in the municipality)." Ver stressed.
Part of the disaster funds had been spent on building COVID-19 isolation facilities, which suffered heavy damage from Ambo. Medical supplies were damaged by the floodwaters as well.
The town initially designated school buildings as quarantine areas for suspected and probable COVID-19 cases. (READ: How local governments observed physical distancing in evacuation centers)
Ver and barangay officials have urged returning residents from different towns to avoid coming home for the moment, even after the government has relaxed quarantine measures. This is one of their precautionary measures as the town builds up its defenses against the coronavirus and recovers from Ambo's wrath.
“Nais din naming makiusap sa mga nais bumalik dito sa aming probinsya dahil sa programa ng ating national government na huwag na po muna kayong bumalik dito dahil mahirap ang kalagayan dito ngayon sa Jipapad. Mas magiging mahirap pa ang ating kalagayan kung ang COVID ay makapasok dito sa atin,” said Vicky Avestruz of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.
(We want to appeal to those who would like to return to our province through the national government's Balik Probinsya program to discontinue their plan in the meantime because the situation now is difficult in Jipapad. It would be more difficult if COVID-19 will start to infect people here.)
How to help
Jipapad's LGU Facebook page uploaded a series of videos from its local barangay officials appealing for help on behalf of affected families. They are in need of food, water, tents, construction materials, and hygiene kits, among other basic necessities.
For those who would like to help Jipapad, Eastern Samar, the Jipapad municipal government endorsed the initiative Tindog Jipadpad Donation drive. Donations may be coursed through:
Jilliza May Rose Dado
Palawan Pawnshop or Cebuana Lhuiller
Call or text 09382756211 for more details
Donors will be notified once donated items have been delivered to Jipapad for distribution. Oras, another Eastern Samar town affected by Typhoon Ambo, is appealing for donations as well. – Rappler.com