Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Army soldiers join the rescue efforts in Negros Oriental

BAYANIHAN IN ACTION. Soldiers and local residents carry an injured victim to an awaiting PAF Chopper during the rescue missions carried out by the AFP yesterday, Feb 7. At least 400 soldiers were deployed by the Army in the affected areas in the towns of La Libertad, Jimalalud and the city of Guihulngan. (Photo by the 302nd Brigade)

CAMP LEON KILAT, Tanjay City – The Philippine Army soldiers have joined the massive search and retrieval operations launched by the local government and NGOs in Negros Oriental, a military report said.

Colonel Francisco Patrimonio, the  Commander of the 302nd Brigade, said that he had sent DRO-trained soldiers from the battalions under his command, to help in the disaster response operations following the 6.9 magnitude quake that hit the Visayas region last Monday.

“I have deployed 400 soldiers including militiamen and reservists to support to the local government units which are in the forefront of the rescue, search and retrieval operations,” said Patrimonio in a statement.

In Negros Oriental, the earthquake resulted to the loss of lives and property. Severely affected communities include Guihulngan City and the municipalities of La Libertad and Jimalalud.

Based on the report of the Provincial Disaster Risks Reduction Management Council, 22 persons were confirmed dead; 82 persons were still missing; and 11, 576 families were affected.

Likewise, the Tinayunan Bridge in Guihulngan City, Martillo Bridge in La Libertad and Pangaluan Bridge in Jimalalud were damaged and still not passable as of press time.

“Our soldiers, including reservists and CAFGUs, continue to conduct search, rescue and retrieval operations in the affected areas, particularly in the landslide areas, where a number of persons are still missing,” added Patrimonio.

Patrimonio also said that relief operations are ongoing. A Navy vessel and Coastguard vessel arrived in Amlan and in Dumaguete port, respectively, to ferry the relief goods donated by the province of Negros Oriental to Guihulngan City.  

“These relief items will be distributed to the residents of isolated affected areas that are in much need in order to alleviate their living conditions,” he said.

The Philippine Army is closely collaborating with the local government in the conduct of disaster response operations.

In a radio interview, Patrimonio likewise enumerated some immediate needs in the affected areas based on his unit's survey.

"We need additional rescue equipment like chainsaw and shovels for our disaster response teams which are now deployed in the landslide areas. On the other hand, the affected residents who are now relocated to evacuation centers need food provisions like canned goods, rice and bottled water," Patrimonio concluded.

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