Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mayor seeks 'livelihood support' for farmers in Libon, Albay affected by typhoon Nina
By Mike Dela Rama

LIBON, Albay, Jan. 24 (PNA) -— Nearly a month since the devastation wrought by typhoon Nina in Bicol, Mayor Wilfredo Maronilla of Libon town in Albay continues to seek help from national government agencies and private organizations in restoring the livelihood of displaced families, particularly in the town’s low-lying and upland areas.

He said Libon town, which is located northwest of Legazpi City, was most affected by the landslides, floods and strong winds that totally destroyed the agriculture sector when the typhoon struck.

Maronilla cited the urgent need to help the agriculture sector in the town so farmers could rebuild their farms and regain their livelihood.

He said coconut and fruit-bearing trees, root crops, poultry, rice fields, abaca and vegetation were totally damaged by the recent typhoon.

Maronilla said Libon’s farmers have become “temporarily dependent” on assistance from other groups and agencies after the typhoon.

He said the local government has been continuously providing relief assistance to affected families such as food packages, medical commodities, educational and hygiene kits but he admitted that their resources are not enough to support the affected families.

He said the assistance he is seeking from national government agencies and other humanitarian organizations would be “temporary in nature.”

“As soon as we rebuild their (farmers) sources of livelihood we will stop seeking assistance,” said Maronilla.

He added there has been continued clearing operations in the upland areas.

Maronilla said the local government finds it very difficult to clear the connecting roads in the upland villages because of the abnormal weather condition in the province and continuous occurrence of landslides in the villages,” said Maronilla.

He identified the villages, which were most affected by the landslides and floods, as Malabiga, Sampongan, Bariw, Matura, Libtong, San Agustin, Balinsayawan and San Pascual.

Maronilla said these villages have 1,800 households which were severely affected by typhoon Nina that slammed Bicol on Christmas Day.

He said that his daily monitoring and inspection of the villages in Libon showed that the motorcycle is the sole means of transportation to be able to reach the villages of Malabiga, Samponga, Matura, Libtong and San Agustin.

Maronilla cited that the access roads were destroyed by landslide.

“We already exerted our resources to clear the area but there are roads that need repair,” he said.

The Philippine Red Cross has been conducting a medical mission in Libon town since Monday while the Team Albay Youth Organization has been conducting a separate “psychosocial caravan” to help the typhoon victims cope with the sudden loss of their sources of livelihood.

A food relief operation was also initiated by the Dios Mabalos Foundation for the typhoon victims. (PNA) LAP/GVR/MDR/CBD