Food running out in 3 Isabela towns

Posted at 10/21/10 12:41 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Three coastal towns in Isabela province are fast running out of food after super typhoon Juan cut off supply routes and destroyed a National Food Authority warehouse in the area, Isabela Gov. Faustino Dy said Thursday.

Dy said the 3 coastal towns, Divilacan, Palanan and Maconacon, were the worst-hit in the province after strong winds flattened houses and schools in the area. A tidal wave also killed 3 people in Maconacon.

The governor said food supply for the 3 towns' 30,000 plus residents is running low and the only way to get to the area is by air.

"This is the first time that they were submerged in 2 meters of water. Even their municipal hall was flooded. Some 5,000 sacks of rice were submerged in sea water after the NFA warehouse was destroyed. They only have enough food until tomorrow," he told radio dzMM.

Dy said some barangays in Divilacan have become completely isolated after rescue boats prepared by the local government units were completely destroyed in the typhoon. He said he is waiting for relief goods to be airlifted to the areas.

The governor said mobile phone communications have yet to be restored after the typhoon damaged some cell sites.

He added that local officials in the 3 towns use generators to supply power to residents.

The typhoon destroyed an estimated P1.3 billion worth of crops in the entire province, Dy said. He added that he has yet to get an estimate of the damage wrought by Juan on the province's infrastructure.

The governor appealed to the public to send food, water and medicine to the Isabela capitol, which will be sent to the devastated areas.

Escaped crocs?

Dy, meanwhile, did not confirm rumors that dozens of crocodiles escaped from a sanctuary in Divilacan.

The governor said he had received a report that a resident in Divilacan was bitten by a crocodile but said it was not serious.

He pointed out that the crocodile sanctuary in Divilacan, which houses some 50 crocodiles, is too far and is about 6-7 kilometers from the poblacion. The sanctuary is run by the Mabuwaya Foundation.

"They are doing an inventory of the crocodiles now just in case some have left the area," he said.