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Relief operations reach Batanes after Super Typhoon “Meranti”

relief-operations-reach-batanes-after-super-typhoon-meranti

Four days after Super Typhoon "Meranti" passed right over the Philippines Batanes Group of Islands relief operations have finally arrived. The full extent of the damage is still unknown, but there were no casualties reported.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Team (NDRRMC) took off via C-130 aircraft at 04:30 UTC on Saturday, September 17, 2016, from Villamor Airbase in Pasay, the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) reported.

The mission was successfully conducted and the affected communities received relief goods consisting of 600 family food packs, 20 000 ready to eat brown rice bars, bottled water, clothes and generator sets.

Super Typhoon "Meranti" acquired September 13, 2016. Credit: NASA Aqua/MODIS

Super Typhoon "Meranti," known in the Philippines as Ferdie, hit the islands group on September 13, affecting some 2 710 families or 10 344 persons in 16 barangays in Ilocos Norte, Region I and the provinces of Batanes and Cagayan in Region II. 

Meranti's eye passed right over the island of Itbayat. Communications have been lost and the island still remains isolated and without communications. (See update at the end of the post)

Credit: NASA/NOAA/DoD Suomi NPP/VIIRS, UW-CIMSS/SSEC

As of 22:00 UTC on September 16 (06:00 PHT on September 17), 20 families or 151 persons are still inside three evacuation centers in Basco, Batanes; while 2 651 families or 10 063 persons temporarily took shelter with their relatives and friends. The entire Batanes Province has a population of 17 236.

RETT, HEM and RDANA Teams from RDRRMC 2 that came in with the mission were also deployed to provide emergency telecoms, health emergency services and conduct damage and needs assessment.

Provincial Governor Cayco presented the situation updates and immediate needs. "They still need canned goods, ropes for securing their houses and emergency communication," he said.

A facsimile of the provincial declaration of the state of calamity was furnished to the mission lead.

Batanes Representative Henedina Abad said Thursday, September 15, that the province was heavily damaged. “Our communities at the moment do not have access to water or electricity, and communication across the province is difficult to establish,” Abad said, adding that there was also great damage in agriculture and infrastructure. She said she's "thankful" that there were no casualties reported.

Norma Talosig, chief of the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) in Cagayan Valley region said that 50 houses were totally damaged while 100 were partially damaged. The buildings of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the Technical Education Development Authority (TESDA), Basco Central School, Batanes National High School, Provincial Capitol building and Sto Domingo Church also suffered damages.

Representative Abad accompanied today's relief flight and brought in water purification systems.

A C-295 relief airlift will be conducted tomorrow morning (local time) to Itbayat with family food packs, water and emergency comms. Another C-130 flight will go to Basco with additional canned goods, water, NFI, ropes and power generator sets.

Cellular communication is intermittent and very weak. Fuel is still available in Basco, Batanes.

On Friday, September 16, Bayan Patroller Aeron Mayor sent first photos of the damage. Images showed roofless and flattened structures, broken glass windows and doors, toppled electric posts and damaged properties. More images can be found here.

Photo by Bayan Patroller Aeron Mayor

Photo by Bayan Patroller Aeron Mayor

Photo by Bayan Patroller Aeron Mayor

Update, September 18 – 07:17 UTC

In a brief satellite phone call it was confirmed today there were no casualties on Itbayat. They are working hard to fix communication lines.

Featured image credit: Aeron Mayor

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