“Operation Tulong Express”, organized by SM Foundation, Inc. in partnership with the Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. (PSE), arrived here Thursday, extending relief assistance to nine earthquake-stricken towns.
SM Foundation vice president Cristie Angeles said the partnership with PSE was part of SM’s program to distribute relief aid around the country in times of disaster.
Angeles said they have institutionalized a protocol for proper coordination and distribution with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), municipal disaster risk reduction and management office, local government units, and other government agencies, such as the Office of Civil Defense, and Central 911 of Davao City.
Angeles said the challenges in responding to natural disasters include dealing with the emotional trauma suffered by the victims.
She said it is important that during relief operations, the victims get to see one another, talk and share their stories as a way of coping with their traumatic experience.
Mayor Quirina Sarte said the local government is focusing on providing psycho-social intervention to the quake victims.
“We got help from volunteers coming from DSWD Region 11. They managed and organized the evacuation centers and together with a non-government organization, they also conducted psycho-social debriefing,” Sarte said in a separate interview.
She said the badly-hit barangays were mostly in mountainous areas, where houses were damaged or destroyed.
All of the town’s 25 barangays have already been provided with relief assistance.
Jesil Jaum, municipal disaster risk reduction, and management officer, said at least 10 villages still face water supply problems.
The town recorded one death and 23 persons injured, Jaum said, adding that the total number of affected families has reached 7,230.
Sarte said business activities have slowed down after the town’s public market was damaged.
The class suspension would remain until damage assessment is completed, she said. (PNA)