Some 80 pct in Surigao del Norte ‘homeless’, says provincial disaster mitigation agency

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 21 2021 06:37 AM

SURIGAO CITY—On-and-off rains have posed problems for thousands in Surigao del Norte who have lost their homes or returned to roofless ones after the onslaught of typhoon Odette.

About 90 to 95 percent of houses and buildings in the province were damaged by the storm, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said Monday.

Engr. Marilyn Puno, the province’s PDRRMO chief, told ABS-CBN News her office estimated about 4 out of 5 in the province are “homeless” because of Odette.

"Meaning they are unroofed. They can’t stay now [in their houses]. It’s not livable cause its open,” Puno said.

Residents in Surigao City and nearby towns, including those evacuated from high-risk areas, have occupied themselves by washing clothes and hanging them on beach fronts, downed power cables, and roofless houses.

However, sudden rainshowers lasting minutes — both in the morning and afternoon — prevent them from fully drying the clothes.

While the province has issued calls for donations of building materials, they ask for a more immediate solution.

"We need immediately plastic sheets to temporarily cover them kasi while they are open, nag-uulan din. Imbes na nakapag-dry up, nakapagpatuyo na sila ng kanilang gamit, nabasa ulit dahil open sila," Puno said.

Other non-food items needed by residents are sleeping mats, mosquito nets, pillows, food utensils, and medicines.

The PDRRMO said some 200 police officers have been deployed to maintain law and order, half of them to Siargao island.

The Philippine Army also committed to augment the security force.

“We know most of the houses are vulnerable,” Puno said.

Surigao del Norte’s provincial council met on Monday after the PDRRMO passed a resolution the day before recommending the council declare a state of calamity.

Puno said the lack of basic utilities and communication in most of the province was one of the factors that led to their resolution.

A state of calamity would also allow residents to loan funds for food, housing, and livelihood, as both crops and fishing equipment were also lost.

"We are down, zero, and we have to restart na naman (again) to move on," Puno said.

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