Philippines: PGMA orders gov't agencies to help mudslide victims in Irosin

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MANILA (PNA) -- President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has directed all concerned government agencies to work together to provide relief to families affected by mudslide in Irosin, Sorsogon.

In a chance interview before the start of the awarding for The Outstanding Women in Nation's Service (TOWNS) held in Malacanang, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Esperanza Cabral on Thursday said "ang directives ng ating Pangulo, lahat ng ahensya ng gobyerno kailangang kumilos para tulungan iyung mga nasalanta nung mudslide."

She said the DSWD is currently giving out rice, canned goods, face masks and used clothing to affected residents.

Cabral said that while affected families have already returned to their homes, residents are now troubled with the very thick mud and huge boulder piles in their lands as a result of the mudslides and lahar flows in recent days.

She also noted that farmlands near the path of the mud flows were also damaged.

Cabral said some 430 individuals from 120 families were forced to evacuate their homes last Tuesday after mud and volcanic debris flowed down the Mt. Bulusan's slopes due to continuous rains in the area.

"They're all back sa residences nila pero ang kahirapan nga lang nila talaga, tumatapak sila sa malalaking boulders at malalalim at very thick na putik. Ang kanilang fields ay na-damage, puro putik at bato na ngayon kaya kailangang i-rehabilitate," she said.

The DSWD Chief said clearing residential lands of deep mud and boulders, and rehabilitating the farmlands are the biggest concerns of residents affected by the recent mudslides from Mt. Bulusan in Sorsogon.

She also reminded residents to avoid the four-kilometer radius permanent danger zone around the volcano, as Alert Level 1 remains hoisted over the area.

Cabral said it is maintaining observation posts to closely monitor developments around the volcano. (PNA)