Local News: Rescue, Retrieval, Relief Operations in Negros Oriental Slowing Down
The search and rescue, retrieval, and relief operations in quake-hit areas of Negros Oriental slowed down yesterday as various groups helping the operations became exhausted, their equipment running out of batteries and the situation was worsened by impassable roads and heavy rains.
Members of the Negros Oriental Rescue Team decided to stop their search, rescue and retrieval operations Wednesday 8 p.m. in La Libertad because they were too exhausted, and they ran out of batteries.
Boyet Somosa, team leader of the rescue group, said they will resume operations today and they are asking the help of barangay officials because the operations were too difficult for them already.
The delivery of relief goods, food and medical supply by the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) yesterday was also hampered by impassable roads.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) reported that a total of 13 bridges in Negros Oriental were hit - 10 were damaged and three destroyed by the tremor - including the Tinayunan Bridge in Guihulngan, the bridge in Martilo, La Libertad and the Pangalwan Bridge in Dayoyo, Jimalalud, with an initial damage estimate at P265.75 million to roads and bridges as of February 8.
PNRC Negros Oriental Chapter head Lowella Bael said they had difficulties in transporting goods to Guihulngan City.
“We need to ask the Coast Guard to ferry the relief goods to Guihulngan City,” Bael said.
Guihulngan City is the base city for relief operations of the PNRC which distributed relief goods, water, medical supplies, tents and other basic commodities for victims of earthquake to quake-hit areas in Negros Oriental.
PNRC asked the assistance of the Philippine Coast Guard via its vessel BRP Pampanga 003 in transporting goods to Guihulngan City as the roads are impassable. The goods were transported from Dumaguete City to Guihulngan via helicopters and ferry boats only, Bael said.
Last Wednesday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also sent medical supplies to Guihulngan District Hospital.
More relief goods are expected to be delivered today in Guihulngan City and its neighboring towns affected by the earthquake.
A report of ABS-CBN Bacolod yesterday said there have been 32 dead bodies retrieved in Guihulngan and about 27 still missing.
Patients are still staying outside the Guihulngan Hospital as the facility is still at risk from aftershocks, it reported.
A wife who is bedridden had to endure the cold outside the hospital, it added.
A report of the Philippine Information Agency Region 7 said about 400 soldiers of the 302nd Infantry Brigade continue to conduct search and rescue operations in different places of Negros Oriental.
Damage to infrastructures in Negros Oriental wrought by Monday’s 6.9-magnitude quake was estimated at P637 million, the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) reported yesterday.
The damage was broken down as follow: P235 million in bridges, P55 million in public works, P242 million in roads, and P105 million in waterworks, it said. * (DBDangcalan/With reports from John Dx Lapid in Negros Oriental)