GenSan, 2 provinces launch relief drive for ‘Yolanda’ victims

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/12 November) — Local governments and non-government organizations in General Santos City and the neighboring provinces of South Cotabato and Sarangani have launched massive relief campaigns for victims of super typhoon Yolanda in Leyte and other parts of the Visayas Region.

South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said Tuesday she has instructed the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office to prepare various relief items and immediately deliver them to the affected areas.

“We will be sending medicine, bottled drinking water, food packs and other necessary items needed by the victims there,” the governor said.

Fuentes said she has mobilized the province’s city and municipal mayors as well as the barangay councils to help gather donations from local residents.

She said they have designated the city and municipal halls, barangay halls, provincial governor’s office and the provincial social welfare and development office as drop-off points for donated relief goods.

Fuentes said she has asked the provincial board to hold a special session for the approval of some P1 million pesos as additional relief assistance for the affected areas and residents, which the national government estimated at around four million.

She said they decided to use the funds to acquire more relief goods instead of directly turning them over to the affected local governments.

“If we deliver it in the form of financial assistance, the local governments there may not be able to use them immediately due to the shortage of available food and other basic supplies there,” she said.

The governor said they will turn over the relief goods they could gather and acquire to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which has been leading the relief operations in Tacloban City and other areas badly devastated by the onslaught of typhoon Yolanda last Friday.

She said they have arranged with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to pick up the relief items from the area through a C-130 aircraft of the Philippine Air Force.

Fuentes said they are presently monitoring the situation in the affected areas and the ongoing relief operations.

“We’re not just focused on Tacloban City because there are other areas like Ormoc City that were also badly devastated as well but were not reported extensively in the media,” she said.

In Sarangani Province, Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon said they will initially send some P500,000 worth of relief assistance to Samar and Leyte provinces and other affected areas.

The Sarangani Information Office called for donations in the form of dried fish and other items that will be sent in the next few days through a team of doctors who are proceeding to the area.

The General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. launched its own relief drive for the victims of typhoon Yolanda.

The group specifically called for donations in the form of clothing, towels, blankets, cooking wares, pillows and food items like canned goods, noodles, biscuits, among other necessities. (MindaNews)