HOMELESS  CATANDUANES  FOLK  NEED  IMMEDIATE  HELP

LEGAZPI CITY,
May 21, 2004  (STAR) By Celso Amo    Thousands of families rendered homeless by typhoon "Dindo" in the Catanduanes towns of Baras, Gigmoto and Panda need immediate help.

"Aid is not yet coming because the road to our place is blocked by earth, boulders and fallen trees," Baras Mayor Jose Teves Jr. told Radyo Bombo-Legazpi via a satellite phone yesterday morning.

Teves estimated that 40 percent of houses in the three municipalities were toppled when "Dindo," packing winds of 180 kilometers per hour, battered the Bicol region.

He said at least 6,000 families need immediate help in the three coastal towns which still have no power and communications.

Teves said the calamity funds of the three towns and the province combined will not be enough to address the damage.

The affected residents, many of whom are suffering from diarrhea, need food, water, nipa, tarpauline, mats, medicines and used clothing.

Teves said it was fortunate that they had warned villagers on Sunday morning to leave their homes and seek refuge in the parish church because a tidal surge as high as the belfry occurred the following morning.

He said the residents in fact found different kinds of fish in the streets and on the beachfront after the tsunami.

According to the Office of Civil Defense, seven people were killed, seven others were injured and three were reported missing in the region.

Three of those injured were reported in the Catanduanes towns of Pandan and San Andres which were hit by flash floods.

Cedric Daep, head of the Provincial Public Safety and Emergency Management Office, said damage to agricultural crops was placed at P35.97 million, and to livestock, at P379,100.

Daep said the typhoon destroyed 247 houses in Albay.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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