'Double whammy': Eastern Samar pleads for food, housing materials as Ambo kills 4

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 17 2020 12:10 PM

Watch more in iWantTFC

MANILA - Eastern Samar is in need of food, water, and housing materials after the country's first storm Ambo killed 4 residents, displaced thousands, and destroyed evacuation and quarantine facilities in the province, its governor said Sunday.

Governor Ben Evardone said 2 residents died due to injuries, while 2 others died of shock. Some 47,000 families were affected by Ambo, which first hit land in San Policarpo town, Eastern Samar as a typhoon on Thursday.

"Medyo malaking damage po ang dinulot nitong bagyong Ambo sa amin. Hindi po namin inakala na ganun kalakas," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(Ambo caused great damage to our province. We did not expect it to be that strong.)

"Said na po ang pondo... calamity funds. In fact, nag-realign na kami ng other programs and projects namin... para pandagdag dito sa COVID-19 facilities. Kaya nga po, pati pagkain kulang na ho kami."

(Our calamity funds have been exhausted. In fact, we have realigned other programs and projects... for COVID-19 facilities. That's why our food is not enough.)

The province will send some 2,500 food packs to the town of Jipadpad on Sunday, while the Department of Social Welfare and Development released Saturday some 4,500 relief packs to Arteche town, according to the governor.

"Tuloy-tuloy po ang repacking ng province. Nagpapakain din kami ng frontliners. Medyo problematic po kami ngayon sa food packs atsaka sa pondo po," he said.

(We continue to repack food. We also feed frontliners. We're having problems with food packs and funds.)

"Pinaka-immediate po ang kailangan po namin is food packs po, atsaka tubig, gamot, housing materials, trapal. Kasi ang bubong ng mga bahay, sira-sira po. Trapal o yero."

(Our most immediate needs are food packs, water, medicine, housing materials because the roofs of our homes were damaged.)

Evardone also appealed to the national government to activate relevant state agencies's quick response fund to help the province recover from the storm amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

QUARANTINE FACILITIES

Nearly half of quarantine facilities in the province, which has yet to record a case of the novel coronavirus, was damaged by Ambo, the governor said.

"Isa pang naka-compound sa problema namin, karamihan ng evacuation center namin kinonvert namin into COVID isolation facilities, ay nasira," he said.

(Another thing that compounded our problems, most of our evacuations that were converted into COVID isolation facilities were damaged.)

"So talagang double whammy kami dito. Pinaghandaan namin to, in fact hanggang ngayon zero COVID pa rin kami. Yung mga COVID facilities namin, halos kalahati ay nasira."

(We suffered a double whammy here. We prepared for COVID-19, in fact up to now we have zero cases. Nearly half of our COVID facilities were destroyed.)

The province has asked the government's task force on COVID-19 to extend the general community quarantine until June 30 as it expects some 20,000 residents in Metro Manila to return to Eastern Samar once lockdown measures there were further eased, Evardone said.

"Pagdating ng May 31, baka mag-open up na Manila, di kami sigurado kung carrier sila o hindi, yan ang kinakatakutan namin," he said.

(Come May 31, Manila might open up, we're not sure if returning residents are carriers or not, that's what we fear.)

Metro Manila, Laguna, and 6 areas in Central Luzon were placed under a modified enhanced community quarantine from Saturday in a bid to restart the economy following the pandemic's disruption.

Ambo is forecast to leave the Philippine area of responsibility by Monday.