WITH tens of thousands of families seeking refuge in evacuation centers across Regions 1, 2, 3 and the Cordillera Administrative Region after typhoon Ompong battered Northern and Central Luzon, the Philippine Red Cross sent more aid to the typhoon-hit provinces.
After getting reports from the assessment teams, Philippine Red Cross chairman Senator Richard J. Gordon immediately deployed the second wave of humanitarian caravan.
The caravan, which left PRC’s national headquarters early Saturday evening, was composed of two 10-wheeler trucks containing 500 sets each of non-food item relief packs; a six-wheeler closed van carrying a Rub hall set; an eight-wheeler stainless water tanker; and two hot meals on wheels. The deployment also included staff and volunteers.
In an earlier press conference on Saturday afternoon, Gordon said the premier humanitarian organization in the country is all set to send more rescue and relief teams to cater to the needs of the communities hit by Ompong, which made landfall in Baggao, Cagayan early Saturday morning.
“We are just waiting for the assessment teams to give their reports on where these life-saving equipment are needed the most. Our staff and volunteers at the Operations Center and on the ground are working non-stop to ensure that we are able to provide assistance to the most vulnerable communities,” he said.
In preparation for the disaster, Gordon already ordered the deployment of a humanitarian caravan to the regions along Ompong’s projected path before it entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility this week. The caravan, which left on Sept. 13, was consist of a 10,000-liter water tanker, four 10-wheeler trucks, a six-wheeler truck, four generator sets, a payloader, a mobile kitchen, a Humvee with a rescue boat, and a 6x6 truck.
A water treatment unit, three sets of water bladders and tap stand, 2,000 sets of basic household items (sleeping kits, hygiene kits, jerry cans and tarpaulin mats), 100 cadaver bags, and five tents for use as temporary learning spaces also formed part of the caravan.
Prior to, during, and after the onslaught of the typhoon, Gordon led the coordination with local government units, schools and hospitals to get real-time situational reports, especially at evacuation centers.
Concerned about the residents of provinces in the typhoon’s path, Gordon called up the local government units to check up on their preparedness prior to Ompong’s landfall and to assure them of the PRC’s assistance.