4 days after 'Lawin,' vital aid still trudging to isolated Kalinga towns

Edwin Sevidal and Dennis Datu, DZMM

Posted at Oct 23 2016 10:19 AM

MANILA - Urgent relief aid is still failing to reach Pasil and Balbalan towns in Kalinga province Sunday, four days after Typhoon ''Lawin'' smashed roads and bridges leading to the two highland areas.

Footage from DZMM's Edwin Sevidal shows boulders, mud and tree trunks covering the roads and making the delivery of relief supplies difficult.

Balbalan Mayor Ruben Dongui-is said landslides have blocked the delivery of heavy equipment needed to clear the roads of debris and has forced rescue teams to conduct manual clearing operations.

Dongui-is said relief teams are also trying to reach Balbalan and Pasil by crossing the adjacent Tubuk town.

But DZMM's Denis Datu reported that some roads in Tabuk were still littered with toppled trees and electric posts.

Hectares of rice and corn plantations in the town were also destroyed. Over 11,800 houses were also partially damaged and 180 homes were flattened to the ground in 12 barangays alone.

Disaster officials were still assessing the damages in 42 other villages.

The initial cost of damage in the town has reached P183 million, with the agriculture sector accounting for P100 million and infrastructure accounting for the remaining amount.

Tabuk City Ferdinand Tubban appealed to the national government to roll out a "cash for work program" for farmers whose crops were washed away by Lawin's torrential rains.

He also appealed for the faster restoration of power supply in the province, which may take a month, according to the Kalinga Electric Cooperative.

Lawin struck on Wednesday night with winds similar to those of catastrophic Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, which was then the strongest storm to hit the disaster-prone country and claimed more than 7,350 lives.

Six people have been confirmed dead, including a family of five who were buried alive after a landslide hit their house in Uma, Lubuagan.