Special permits for ships sought to speed up aid, transport to Odette-wrecked Siargao

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 21 2021 07:11 AM

SURIGAO CITY—Surigao del Norte’s provincial disaster risk reduction and management office (PDRRMO) has asked the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) to allow more sea vessels to help bring aid and transport people to Siargao Island.

Engr. Marilyn Puno, the PDRRMO head, told ABS-CBN News Monday relief efforts were now focusing on the ravaged tourist island, which had been isolated for days since the onslaught of typhoon Odette late last week.

Odette's first landfall was in Siargao, best known as a world-class surfing destination.

"Challenge namin ang pag-transport through boat, kasi we learned marami kaming mga boats going to Siargao Island na medyo sira, may butas daw,” Puno said.

Besides damaged ships, authorities also have to make sure no submerged vessels posed danger to passing boats.

An initial 300 bags of government food aid were sent to the island on Sunday, while a private donor transported 1,000 bags via roll-on-roll-off service.

The PDRRMO said it expected more aid to come but there were fears the limited sea trips could stall the disaster response.

Puno said her office requested the MARINA to issue special permits to shipping companies that do not usually service the area so they could augment the ones traveling to and from the island.

Besides taking relief, the additional travel could help those stranded in Siargao to return home. 

Surigao del Norte Gov. Lalo Matugas told ABS-CBN News 90 percent of the island experienced damage from Odette’s landfall. 

Siargao has been placed under a state of calamity.

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