MANILA — Around 72 families in Itbayat, Batanes are still staying at temporary shelters a month after their homes were flattened by a series of deadly earthquakes, an official said Wednesday.
Authorities are waiting for the weather to improve before transporting construction materials from Manila to the country's northernmost town by boat, as small aircraft cannot land on the island, said Dante Balao, head of the Office of Civil Defense-Cagayan Valley region.
"Alam naman natin na ang Batanes, island iyan. Magkakaroon talaga ng shortage ng construction materials so manggagaling ng Manila talaga iyung bulk ng construction materials," he told radio DZMM.
(We know that Batanes is an island, there will really be a shortage of construction materials so their bulk would come from Manila.)
"Masyadong maalon pa. Tina-timing-an lang ng barko kung kailan maglalayag," he added.
(The sea is still too rough. We are looking for the right timing to sail.)
Last July 27, 3 strong tremors with magnitudes ranging between 3.2 and 5.9 had toppled the island's treasured limestone houses and the belfry of a centuries-old parish, tore deep cracks in the road and forced the evacuation of a hospital.
Authorities said some of the 9 dead, including 2 babies under a year old, were crushed by the walls of their own homes.
Batanes is pounded every year by tropical cyclones and homes are built of stone to survive the annual onslaught.
This week's tropical depression Jenny left 4 overflow brides impassable in Cagayan Valley and sent some 237 families to evacuation centers, said Balao.
DZMM, August 28, 2019