MANILA, Philippines — Authorities continue to conduct search and retrieval operations for missing individuals after the onslaught of tropical storm Vinta in the region of Zamboanga.
Forty residents of Zamboanga remain missing, while 70 others were confirmed dead.
Sixty-five of the casualties were residents of Zamboanga del Norte, while five were from Zamboanga Sibugay.
Despite the ongoing relief operations for affected residents, many of them are still having extreme difficulty after the powerful typhoon wreaked havoc in their region.
“Kaya ngayon nagmomoblema ako kung ano ang gagastusin ko dito sa mga kakailanganin ( I’m having problems on where to get money to spend for our needs,” said Robin Alimpong, relative of a casualty.
Albinia Agan, a resident of Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay said, ” Isa talaga sa kailangan namin ay banig, kumot, kulambo, kaldero dahil yung mga nawalan ng bahay, walang-wala talaga (Among our needs are beddings, blankets, mosquito nets, pots. After we lost our homes, we also lost our valuables).”
Meanwhile, typhoon Vinta has also damaged 542 infrastructures, while 2,250 affected residents are still staying at temporary shelters.
Two national highways remain closed. These are in the municipalities of Mahayag and Salug, where the bridges have been also damaged.
According to Junalyn Maravillo, an officer of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management of the Kabasalan Municipality, the residents have to follow warnings in case another calamity strikes so as to avoid many casualties.
“Although informed sila dahil kung hindi sila nainformed lahat sila ay malulunod. Informed sila na mag-preemptive evacuation na sa upper area kaya sudden talaga ang pagtaas ng water level, (Although they had been informed, because if they were not, they would have drowned by now. They were informed about the pre-emptive evacuation in the upper area. The rise in the water level was really sudden),” said Maravillo.
Maravillo also emphasized that authorities and local government officials properly issued warnings and advisories to the region’s residents.
However, the disaster response officer noted that the residents had just refused to evacuate from their homes. — Leslie Longboen | UNTV News and Rescue