DSWD, AFP join hands in ‘Karding’ relief ops

The Department of Social Welfare and Development has tapped the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the airlifting of more relief supplies in areas devastated by super typhoon “Karding”.

DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo on Monday assured that food and non-food relief items were already being distributed to the affected population including those who were stranded in sea ports.

The PAF has placed all of its Disaster response Task Unit personnel, equipment, and air assets in Luzon on alert status for possible Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) missions,

“Moreover, the teams are equipped with hard hats, life vests, chain saw, axe, crowbar, hammers, rubber boats, utility ropes, flashlights, radios, stretchers, ladders, shovels, generators, lifesavers, medical equipment, and are capable of search, relief, rescue, recovery, and medical aid,” PAF spokesperson Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo said.

In addition, PAF reservists in the different air reserve centers in Luzon were also placed on standby alert for possible augmentation in the conduct of HADR.

“The heavy engineering equipment and operators of the 355th Aviation Engineer Wing were also placed on standby alert,” she added.

Castillo also said the C-208 Grand Caravan and the Hermes 900 UAV aircraft are alerted to fly for rapid damage assessment and needs analysis.

“Airlift and search-and-rescue assets to include the S-Huey, Huey II, Bell 205, S-70i Black Hawk, UH-1H, Bell 412, and C-295 aircraft are also on standby alert for HADR operations like SAR (search-and-rescue), relief operations, and other related missions,” she added.

For his part, Department of National Defense officer-in-charge Jose Faustino Jr. said several areas in Central Luzon and Calabarzon, among others, were still flooded following the onslaught of “Karding”.

He said assessment as to the number of damaged houses, infrastructure and agriculture is still ongoing

He said clearing operations on fallen trees, electric posts and other debris is also continuous, especially to clear the major thoroughfares in the affected areas.

AFP public affairs office chief, Col. Jorry Baclor, said that the country’s air force and naval assets were pre-positioned in strategic areas ready for relief, search and rescue operations.

Baclor added the AFP has been providing necessary assistance to the local disaster risk reduction and management offices to secure the welfare of the typhoon-affected families.

The AFP’s unit commanders were also directed to utilize available assets for rapid damage and needs assessment as well as identify the needs of the people.

The Philippine Army’s Northern Luzon Command deployed a total of 14 teams for search, rescue, and retrieval operations in the entire region, with 272 teams on standby for expanded humanitarian assistance and disaster response teams.

The military personnel is involved in the implementation of the pre-emptive evacuation in the villages of Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya.

Troops from Marine Battalion Landing Team 10 have rescued four individuals residing near the riverbanks of Sitio Reserba, Barangay Esteves, Aurora.

Road clearing operations are simultaneously conducted all over Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Tarlac, and other nearby towns affected by “Karding.”

“All of our Disaster Response Teams will operate round-the-clock to guarantee the security and welfare of everyone affected. In order to expedite the delivery of relief supplies and other essential services to the communities, coordination was made with our partner agencies and various stakeholders,” NolCom Commander Lt. Gen. Ernesto Torres Jr. said.

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