Aid pours in for ‘Odette’-devastated Siargao Island

A call for help from Siargao, Surigao del Norte. MindaNews photo by ROEL N. CATOTO

DEL CARMEN, Siargao Island (MindaNews / 20 December) – Relief goods for victims of typhoon “Odette” (international name: Rai) have started to arrive on Saturday, December 18, from civic groups and individuals who wanted to alleviate the plight of people devastated by the disaster.

Lawyer Lucille Sering, a native of Siargao and former secretary of the Climate Change Commission, chartered a private chopper on Saturday to check the situation on the island and to extend financial help.

She shelled out at least 200,000 pesos from her personal funds to the different towns on the island for their most immediately needs.

“We need drinking water,” she reiterated.

Sering, who also gave out cash assistance to her relatives, appealed to her friends in the different parts of the country and abroad to extend help to the typhoon victims in Siargao.

Her words that “more choppers will land and more is coming” came true.

Vice President Leni Robredo, who is running in the presidential race, arrived on the island on Sunday, December 19, and visited Del Carmen, Dapa and General Luna towns.

She donated sacks of rice and promised to send more help.

Private choppers also landed on Sunday in Catangnan with a group of businessmen dropping relief goods and water filtration devices.

The Junior Chamber International (JCI) – Legaspi, a young civic organization advocating for positive change, will be sending a barge loaded with relief goods and heavy equipment, among others, on Thursday for Siargao to help the local people.

It is expected to arrive on Saturday at the port of Dapa.

The other chapters of JCI in the different parts of the country are collecting donations for victims of Odette, which also devastated parts of the Visayas.

On Monday, December 20, former senator Bongbong Marcos, another presidential contender, also arrived in Del Carmen airport, via a private jet with Mayor Luis “Chavit” Singson of Narvacan town, Ilocos Sur.

“I brought relief goods and water filtration,” Marcos told this reporter.

Siargao-born Communications Secretary Martin Andanar also arrived on the island at 11:00 am Monday, bringing with him satellite dishes.

Senator Francis Tolentino also arrived Monday afternoon, bringing cash assistance and relief goods to Del Carmen and San Benito.

The staff of Senator Kiko Pangilinan also arrived Monday to distribute relief goods on the island.

A resort in General Luna will be utilizing two VSATs (very small aperture and satellite phones) to help the crisis center of the local government unit.

On Friday, President Rodrigo Duterte conducted aerial inspection over Siargao and Dinagat Islands and landed in Surigao airport.

“He promised to give one billion pesos for infrastructure projects and one billion pesos for the victims in Surigao del Norte through the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development),” Surigao del Norte Governor Francisco T. Matugas said.

“Odette,” which made its first landfall in the Philippines in Siargao Island at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 16 ,  “totally devastated” the area, Matugas said earlier. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)