DSWD continues relief operations for El Nino victims

TAGBILARAN CITY, June 27 (PIA) – Responding to the effects of the long dry season and the searing heat brought about by the El Nino, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) mobilized its resources to bring crucial relief to distressed communities in the island barangays of Bohol.

And, for its initial mobilization, DSWD Bohol reports the delivery of relief food and water packs to 22,771 individuals in 14 towns, most of them from the deprived sectors.

DSWD Bohol Chief Papiasa Bustrillos said that with local resources, they are constrained to prioritize the distribution of rice, canned goods and water to families of farmers and fishermen of Bohol’s island barangays and towns who are severely affected by the long dry season.

The drought brought about by the El Nino has not just damaged millions of pesos worth of agriculture, but its searing and persistent heat ruined also the multi-million seaweeds industry feeding thousands of seaweed farmers in the island barangays of northern Bohol, Bustillos revealed during the Kapihan sa PIA.

"Right now, we are again continuing to pack more relief to be delivered to other areas in Bohol that need them," she said, adding that the delivery depends on the availability of trucks from Bohol Provincial Disaster and Risk Reduction Council (PDRRMC).

"We also intend to ask the congressman from the second district, Cong. Aristotle Aumentado, to lend us his boat so we could deliver the goods to other islets," she added.

The repacking, she added, is based on validated reports emanating from town teams.

The team, comprised of the municipal or city social welfare and development officer, municipal agriculture officer (MAO), a representative from the DSWD Kalahi, 4Ps and the Sustainable Livelihood Programs, gather and shortlist the data of calamity-affected individuals from the barangays.

The data is the validated from the list submitted by the MAO, MSWDO, and civil society organizations.

People who are severely affected may go to these teams and get into the list, but Bohol welfare officials also explained why not everyone can be given relief packs.

"We are operating on a limited budget, so we make sure that only those who have no other means can get [the relief packs]," Bustrillos explained.

Beyond that, by operational protocol, the local office has to keep a buffer stock of 10,000 relief packs which can be withdrawn any given time during emergencies, she said.

Relief is just among the many interventions that DSWD is extending to communities and 4Ps beneficiaries who are severely distressed by the El Nino.

By July, the 4Ps Family Development Session, where 4Ps beneficiaries are required to attend, would be tackling disaster preparedness, according to Phoebe Jen Indino, 4PS Information Officer.

The program, to be implemented in coordination with the Office of the Civil Defense, Philippine National Red Cross, and the Bureau of Fire Protection would grant to communities the proper disaster preparedness to mitigate the often disastrous effects of La Nina, Indino bared. (rmn/rac/PIA-7/Bohol)