Cordillera readies ‘tent city’ in case of forced evacuation

BAGUIO CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Cordillera has set up a “tent city” at the Wangal Sports Complex, where evacuees can take refuge in case a forced evacuation is ordered at danger zones in Itogon town.

DSWD Cordillera Regional Director Janet Armas said Thursday 43 tents, each capable of sheltering one family, have been set up at the sports complex’s gymnasium and its surroundings.

More will be put up still at the elevated portion of the grounds, she added.

“The first we did before putting up the tents were to set up the warehouse and pre-positioned food and non-food supplies for the evacuees,” Armas said.

The tents are ready for occupancy once the typhoon rains are felt in Baguio and Benguet, she added, pointing out priority will be given to residents in declared danger zones in Itogon.

The residents have been informed of the pre-emptive evacuation as early as Sept. 21.

So far, DSWD Cordillera has received 150 tents from the department’s central office.

Armas said her office had actually requested for 1,000 tents, but was assured of an initial 500, which are expected to come within the week.

She said her office met with the disaster risk reduction management councils of Cordillera and Itogon town for the preparation and evacuation plan for “Paeng.”

“We had a meeting and the local DRRM council identified seven barangays in Itogon, where residents are possibly to evacuate in case ‘Paeng’ brought rains,” she said.

Identified as susceptible to landslides, she cited, are barangays Virac, Tuding, Loakan, Ucab, Poblacion, Gumatdang, and Ampucao.

Armas said the evacuees are expected to transfer to the emergency shelters upon the advisory of the local government unit, based on the advice of the weather bureau.

“We are also looking for other possible national and local government sites in Baguio and Benguet, where we can put up the tents as an evacuation site for everybody who needs to move during calamities,” she added.

Armas said the entire Cordillera is ready in terms of food and non-food supplies for Typhoon Paeng.

As of 4 a.m. on Thursday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said “Paeng” had weakened as it moved slowly out of the country.

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