Typhoon-ridden Dinagat Islands make Garage the province’s seat of power


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The Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office of Dinagat Province counts 27,780 destroyed and 3,085 damaged houses in 7 cities

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – The Dinagat Islands provincial government has made a garage the seat of power for the province, where local officials are now preparing plans for rebuilding it.

As the main Capitol buildings were badly damaged and destroyed during the attack of Typhoon Odette (Rai) on December 16, workers built makeshift offices in the Capitol garage in Barangay Caurinta, San Jose, capital of Dinagat.

Josel Gonzales, chief of staff to Dinagat governor Arlene “Kaka” Bag-ao, said around 300 provincial government workers were crammed into the makeshift offices to enable continued government functions.

The Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of Dinagat Province has also set up a makeshift base in Barangay Santa Cruz, also in the city of San Jose, where all disaster relief measures in the province are planned and coordinated.

“This is to ensure the delivery of goods and services to Dinagatnons while we work on rebuilding after Typhoon Odette,” said Gonzales.

He said some of the biggest challenges for Dinagat now are restoring power and restoring the province’s telecommunications signals, which were disrupted the day Odette landed.

Dinagat has been in the dark for over a week and cell phone signals are still very weak and limited in some areas after Odette hit the islands and destroyed the province’s power and telecommunications infrastructures.

Bag-ao has sent officials and workers from the Dinagat Capitol to the Caraga mainland to establish communications with civil protection groups through the Office of Civil Defense (OCD). This means that you will have to travel all the way to Butuan City, where the power supply and telecommunication signals are relatively stable.

The reconstruction of homes and health facilities is also a major concern.

Thousands of families lost their homes in the worst environmental disaster to hit the Dinagat Islands in recent years.

The day Odette unleashed his anger there, “houses were swept like paper houses,” Gonzales said.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) counted 27,780 homes destroyed and 3,085 damaged homes in seven towns on the Dinagat Islands on December 23.

Gonzales said Governor Bag-ao and other officials in Dinagat’s “makeshift capital” were working to restore vital public infrastructure while considering ways to boost the local economy, ensure adequate food supplies and create emergency jobs to ensure that income.

Gonzales said a Capitol team formed by Bag-ao is working on an early recovery.

The capital is also optimistic that Dinagat will receive help from the United Nations and international aid agencies “to help us build better”.

Dinagat has so far received commitments of support from the UN resident coordinator for the Philippines Gustavo Gonzalez and the ambassadors Michèle Boccoz from France, Steven Robinson from Australia and Peter Kell from New Zealand.

“We are facing a very critical moment. We’re trying to find the best way to recover from this, ”said UN’s Gonzalez when he announced plans for a UN mission to the Dinagat Islands.

Gonzalez and the other diplomats were scheduled to fly from Surigao City to the Dinagat Islands last week but were prevented from doing so due to logistical issues.

Bag-ao’s chief of staff said the relief efforts so far have been “overwhelming” and have enabled the provincial government to set up “communal kitchens” in the typhoon-ravaged cities of Dinagat “to ensure the Dinagatnons don’t go hungry as we do”. work together on recovery. “

“Aid comes from everywhere – from international and national humanitarian organizations, corporate groups, civil society groups, churches and government agencies, families, individuals and barkadas (Friends), “said Gonzales.

He said Dinagatnons are inherently resilient as they live in an island province that “has not made isolation alien to us or our people” and has “created a culture of independence”. –Rappler.com

The following are the donation channels announced by the Dinagat provincial government:

  • Gilbert Anguay, Senior Aquaculturist, Dinagat Provincial Government, 09303737160
  • Nolasco Ritz Lee B. Santos III, Balaod Mindanaw Executive Director, GCash-linked number: 09209380692
  • Loi Cabaluna from Balaod Mindanaw, GCash-linked number: 09561274786
  • Banco de Oro (BDO), Unibank, account number 001768028140, Balay Alternative Legal Advocates for Development in Mindanaw Incorporated, Corrales Street, Cagayan de Oro City, SWIFT code: BNORPHMM
  • Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) account number 2041-0351-05, Balaod Mindanaw Incorporated, Velez Street, Cagayan de Oro City, SWIFT code: BOPIPHMM
  • Balaod Mindanaw Office, 105 Faustino Neri Street, Block 13, RER Subdivision, Phase I, Barangay Kauswagan, Cagayan de Oro City 9000
  • Agusan del Norte Representative’s District Office Lawrence Fortun, 4th Street, Guingona Subdivision, Butuan City
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