September 26 - October 09, 2005

Calamity fund may not be enough—MVF

The Laoag City government may need more than the P5 million that it allocated from its calamity fund for relief operations as the number of typhoon-affected families continues to rise.

Laoag was declared under a state of calamity prompting the city council to authorize the release of P5 million from the city’s P13 million calamity fund for relief purposes.

But Mayor Michael Fariñas expressed the fear that the initial allocation may not be enough to answer for relief operations.

“We need any help that President Macapagal-Arroyo may extend because the city is reeling twice over as we have not received any assistance during the previous typhoon (Igme) last year. And we incurred as much damage as typhoon Igme,” Fariñas said during the CDCC meeting on September 23.

Fariñas said damages in agricultural crops alone had reached P1.7 million while the engineering department is still assessing damages on roads and facilities.

The city government has already used up P800,000 from the calamity fund to buy relief goods.

As of the morning of September 23, affected families have reached more than 3,000 equivalent to 14,309 persons in 42 villages here.

The city disaster coordinating council (CDCC) started providing relief goods yesterday at the height of typhoon “Labuyo”. But more relief items are still being packed for distribution to affected families which are either in evacuation centers or in their flood-submerged houses.

The CDCC monitoring report is still consolidating damages in the agriculture sector, which is expected to drive the cost of rehabilitation.

The provincial disaster coordinating council (PDCC), meanwhile, has recorded some P12. 6 million in damaged crops and roads while flooded houses reached 9,890 in the towns of Solsona, Piddig, Dingras, Sarrat, Paoay, Marcos, Pagudpud, Pasuquin, Bacarra and Batac. Affected families were recorded at more than 12,000 families or 48,660 persons.

Norma Lagmay, provincial agriculturist, said “Labuyo” was more destructive than typhoon Igme which hit the province last year noting that the number of damaged agricultural lands is higher this year.

“Labuyo brought more rains than Igme swamping mostly palay crops in their maturity stage,” Lagmay said.

At least 2,750 hectares planted to palay were damaged in 10 towns. But the agriculture office has yet to assess their chances of recovery in the coming days.

Cristina Arzadon, (PIA-Ilocos News)

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