Northern towns begin recovery

Rona T. Fernandez

A MONTH after Typhoon Ursula pummeled towns and cities in northern Cebu with strong winds and heavy rains on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2019 and Christmas Day, recovery efforts in the towns of Daanbantayan and Sta. Fe are underway.

In Daanbantayan, Mayor Sun Shimura said they are conducting a revalidation of affected households after their last count recorded 31,000 families were affected by the typhoon.

The number is 4,000 more than the 27,000 affected families initially reported last December.

“We are now more or less 60 percent in our recovery efforts. We’re okay. We’re getting there,” Shimura said in an interview Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, on the sidelines of the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo Northern Escapade trail.

The Municipal Government had called for a two-day meeting from Jan. 21 to 22 to consolidate the number of damaged and destroyed houses.

“We’re really going into the barangay and community level,” Shimura said.

Six hundred fisherfolk also received sheets of plywood from the Municipal Government to repair their fishing boats.

The Philippine Councilors League (PCL) Cebu chapter, for its part, donated 100 sheets of galvanized iron to help the affected households start anew.

Some of the galvanized iron will also be used to repair damaged roofs of schools, particularly the Daanbantayan Central Elementary School and Daanbantayan National High School.

Shimura said the Municipal Government also spent around P1.2 million on tarpaulins which can be used by affected families to build temporary homes while waiting for emergency funds from the National Government.

In the neighboring town of Medellin, officials are asking the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Central Visayas to fast-track the repairs of their fish hatchery which was badly damaged by strong winds brought about by Typhoon Ursula.

Medellin Vice Mayor Juan Alfonso Lim said the multispecies hatchery in Barangay Kawit is considered a prime source of livelihood for their residents especially those living in coastal areas.

Meanwhile, approximately 51.5 kilometers from Daanbantayan in the town of Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island, Mayor Ithamar Espinosa said Typhoon Ursula showed how the people of Sta. Fe can be resilient.

“Our rehabilitation efforts and validation works are ongoing, but our people have already started rebuilding their homes on their own. We are rising as a town, even in our own ways,” he said.

Espinosa said the barangays that had incurred the most damage were those located on Kinatarcan Island.

Earlier, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia offered to rebuild covered courts in barangays Hagdan and Langob as well as an evacuation center in Barangay Kinatarcan.

“We’re just waiting for an update from the Capitol on the construction works for these government structures,” Espinosa said.

In its latest report, the Municipality of Sta. Fe recorded 2,408 damaged houses in barangays Poblacion (99), Talisay (61), Okoy (196), Balidbid (138), Maricaban (65), Pook (241), Hilantagaan (123), Kinatarcan (254), Langub (465) and Hagdan (766).

Destroyed houses, on the other hand, were placed at 204, broken down as follows: Talisay (1), Okoy (10), Balidbid (4), Maricaban (1), Hilantagaan (6), Kinatarcan (33), Langub (35) and Hagdan (114). (RSR)