Over 500 locals from Albay and Camarines Sur in the Bicol region severely affected by tropical depression “Usman” received financial aid, relief goods and medicines from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).
Pagcor allotted a total of P3 million financial assistance to calamity victims from the towns of Sagñay, Buhi and Baao in Camarines Sur and Tiwi, Legazpi and Libon in Albay during the agency’s relief operations in Bicol from 4 to 6 January this year.
“Usman” triggered massive landslides and flooding across the Bicol region on 29 December 2018 that affected nearly 200,000 residents.
According to the National Risk Reduction Council, the death toll caused by “Usman” has climbed to 140 with 28 missing and 124 injured as of 10 January. The fatalities include residents from Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), Bicol and Eastern Visayas.
One of the victims, 35-year-old housewife Charilyn Gonzales, a local of Baragay Patitinan, Camarines Sur, survived the landslides with minor injuries but lost her home and three children.
“We were having dinner when the storm hit us. The ground below us suddenly moved and engulfed my family,” Gonzales said. Three of her children, Sherilyn, 13; John Ivan, 6; and Sir Lord, 4, were killed in the landslide. “It’s still like a bad dream for me. I can’t believe my children are all gone. Sherilyn would have celebrated her birthday on 6 January,” tearful Gonzales added.
The mother was among the recipients of the relief aid from Pagcor. Apart from food and medicine, families of the casualties like Gonzales also received between P20,000 and P80,000 financial assistance from the agency.
Pagcor president and COO Alfredo Lim, who led the relief operations, said that the agency’s disaster response team is reaching out to as many disaster victims as they can.
“Most of these people lost so much and no amount of assistance could replace what they lost. This is the least we could do for them to at least help them recover from the tragedy. Rest assured, we will do whatever we can to assist them,” Lim said.
Meanwhile, Pagcor also reached out to typhoon-struck communities in Eastern Visayas by delivering relief packs containing food items to 3,000 affected residents of Catarman and Lope de Vega in Northern Samar.
The said towns became isolated for a few days after heavy rains spawned by typhoon Usman caused floods and landslides and shut down electricity and water.