Use of lumber from felled coconut trees as building materials for ‘Odette’ victims urged

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur (MindaNews / 11 Jan) – The head of the local water utility here has urged concerned government agencies to allow homeless Typhoon “Odette” victims in Surigao del Norte, Siargao Island and the Province of Dinagat Islands to use lumber from felled coconut and other trees as their building materials to rebuild their homes.

The felled coconut trees in Dinagat Islands where the rescue team from San Francisco Water District in Agusan del Sur visited. Photo from the SFWD Facebook page

“We urge all concerned government authorities and the private sector to acquire and utilize felled trees and downed coconut trees for shelter and rehabilitation project, providing cutting equipment/permit, and ensuring proper safety equipment and training to workers the soonest possible time,” said Elmer Luzon, general manager of the San Francisco Water District (SFWD).

He added that by making use of what is already available in the typhoon-stricken areas, the people will be able to obtain lumber materials and will only have to focus on acquiring other needed repair materials.

Luzon also called on concerned government agencies to help victims of the typhoon on their urgent need for safe drinking water and housing materials.

In a social media post in the SFWD Facebook page, Luzon appealed for immediate intervention of these needs as thousands of the victims, many of them children, are still homeless and suffering from dehydration and diarrhea.

Luzon noted that SFWD responders who helped repair damaged water pipelines have seen the massive destructions made by Typhoon “Odette” to houses, offices, school buildings, shopping centers, electrical posts, communication facilities, and other establishments that once made the towns rich and vibrant.

The responders went to the typhoon-stricken areas in the towns of Placer, Bacuag, Claver, in mainland Surigao de Norte and Surigao City. They also brought relief goods to Siargao Island (in the municipalities of Dapa, Del Carmen, Sta. Monica, San Isidro, and General Luna), and in the Province of Dinagat Islands in the towns of San Jose, Dinagat, and Basilisa,

“We have heard their cry for drinking water as others have suffered from dehydration and diarrhea,” Luzon said.

The 12-cubic-meter water tanker of San Francisco Water District that distributed safe drinking water to Typhoon “Odette” victims. Photo from the SFWD Facebook page

As first responders in the aftermath of the disaster, he said SFWD has immediately lent 12-cubic meter water tankers for the hardest-hit typhoon victims in the two provinces. He acknowledged that these are not enough even though they have been delivering water since December 21 as only a few water service providers have responded to this need.

Luzon has urged water service providers in government and private firms serving the affected areas to fast-track efforts in rehabilitation and repair of their water system the soonest possible time. (Chris V. Panganiban / MindaNews)