MANILA – The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Thursday announced that 363 national search-and-rescue teams have been deployed to help local government units (LGUs) severely affected by flooding caused by Typhoon Ulysses.
In an online press conference, Mark Cashean Timbal, NDRRMC spokesperson, clarified that these personnel will not take over the rescue operations or response of the affected LGUs.
He added these teams were instructed to report to the mayors of the affected LGUs so that they can be given instructions or assigned particular locations to do their work.
Services who contributed these rescue personnel are the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region (JTF-NCR).
Timbal said teams deployed by the AFP number around 45 with those at standby at 24; BFP with 43 teams while the PNP has contributed 250 teams with another 253 on standby.
Meanwhile the PCG has 20 teams deployed with five teams on standby while JTF-NCR has five teams on duty.
Timbal said the number of deployed teams in affected areas totaled 363 or more than 1,000 search-and-rescue personnel while those 282 teams are on standby and are ready to act as their relievers.
He added that these national search-and-rescue teams are deployed in Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and the National Capital Region (NCR).
Meanwhile, standby teams are tapped to go into priority LGUs of Rodriquez and San Mateo, both in Rizal and in the cities of Marikina and Pasig to augment the rescue efforts.
Timbal added that the NDRRMC has received more than 90 requests for search-and-rescue assistance and these are now being processed with the help of the rescue teams themselves and in coordination with the LGUs.
“Requests for rescue assistance are still ongoing and that these are now being acted on,” Timbal said in a mixed of English and Filipino.
He added that 196,696 individuals or 53,752 families have been preemptively evacuated before “Ulysses” made landfall.
This includes the 4,819 persons preemptively evacuated in the NCR.
He said figures are expected to change with ongoing validation.
He said they are still to release damage assessments as their priority now is on response operations.
“We are focusing on rescue (missions). Collection (of) data (regarding damage) on the ground is secondary,” he added.
And when asked for reports on casualties, he said that they are still collecting data from their regional counterparts.
Water service interruptions were also recorded in Camarines Sur and Catanduanes while 67 road sections and 27 bridges were reported not passable in Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Eastern Visayas, NCR and CAR.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Navy (PN) said that it has deployed three disaster relief and Response Teams (DRRTs) from Philippine Marine Corps (PMC), Bonifacio Naval Station and Naval Combat Engineering Brigade in Langka St., Provident Village and Barangay Bliss, all in Marikina since Wednesday.
Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas, PN public affairs office chief, said these deployments are in support to the rescue operations for trapped families due to heavy flooding.
Elements of 101st PN Reserve also trooped to Barangka in Marikina early on Thursday to augment the PN DRRTs.
Meanwhile, three amphibious assault vehicles (AAV) of the Philippine Marine Corps are on standby for prompt deployment to affected areas in the nation’s capital.
AAVs are among the modern assets of the PN intended for marine operations but can also be utilized during disaster response operations because of their capability to navigate on land and water.
PN chief Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo is personally overseeing all their rescue efforts through the command center at PN headquarters in Naval Station Jose Andrada, Manila which was organized for such purpose. Priam Nepomuceno and Christopher Lloyd Caliwan / PNA – northboundasia.com