By JUSTIN UMALI
SANTA ROSA, Laguna – The intense winds brought by Typhoon Quinta (International name Molave) have forced hundreds of families to evacuate from their homes and communities in the Quezon province.
According to initial data received by volunteer relief organization Southern Tagalog Serve the People Corps, at least 5,061 families have evacuated in the municipalities of Agdangan, Padre Burgos, Calauag, Lopez, Gumaca and Atimonan. Figures from the Quezon Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council put the number as high as 5,825 families, or about 21,000 individuals.
Resident in the said areas describe issues such as downed power lines, flying roofs, and houses and crops demolished by the wind. In urban centers like Lucena City, trees fell on the roads, pinning down at least two vehicles, while spillways overflowed to the street.
In Lucban and Mauban, power lines and fallen trees have made roads impassable, while landslides in Padre Burgos have devastated roads and houses. Local government units and municipal officials are currently focused on clearing operations to make roads passable.
In San Antonio, farmers were left dumbstruck and unsure of what to do on seeing their crops destroyed by the winds.
Most of the families affected in the province are farmers. Although the southern area of Quezon is no stranger to typhoons and storms, the devastation and loss of livelihood caused by Typhoon Quinta becomes costlier now due to the ongoing pandemic.
Most of the affected farmers and fisherfolk had to endure economic hardship brought about by the lockdown. Provincial estimates put damages to infrastructure at approximately P87.3 million (US$ 1.73 million), but this does not include the economic losses sustained by the affected farmers, who are already considered the “poorest of the poor.”
Outside of Quezon, residents in Batangas, Mindoro, Laguna, and Cavite were also heavily affected by typhoon Quinta.
Thousands suffered power outages all over Batangas as power lines were brought down by the intense winds. According to Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas, half of the province had their power cut off.
One person was also reported missing after three vessels capsized and sank off the shores of Bauan.
Some residents were also evacuated, adding strain to those previously affected by the January 2020 Taal volcano ash-fall. Until now, the National Housing Authority has no budget allocated for the rehabilitation of thousands of farmers and fisherfolk forced to leave their homes near Taal.
Hundreds were stranded at Occidental Mindoro’s ports. According to the Office of Civil Defense – Mimaropa, at least 642 passengers are stuck across ports in Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan. At least 500 families have also been evacuated in the area.
In Laguna, at least 1,067 families living near the Laguna de Bay were affected by floods and strong winds. Most of these families fish for a living, while some are urban poor residents living near the railroad tracks.
In Cavite, communities living in the Bacoor coastal area were struck by strong winds. Fisherfolk in the area reported that their boats were trashed and damaged by the strong tides.
Volunteer organizations are currently hard at work organizing relief efforts for those in evacuation centers, as well as post-evacuation rehabilitation. The Southern Tagalog Serve the People Corps and its partner organizations in the provinces are planning to extend assistance to the heaviest affected areas within the week.
ST STPC is looking for cash and in-kind donations. The group is specifically requesting for rice, canned goods, dried goods, bottled water, toiletries, clean blankets, and clean clothes for in-kind donations.
Cash donations can be sent through:
• GCash – 0912 598 5323
• PayMaya – 0905 143 8496
�� UnionBank – 109816909052