RELIEF GOODS. The Tacloban City warehouse of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). The DSWD on Monday (Jan. 18, 2021) says it delivered 3,000 family food packs to last week's flood victims in Eastern Samar. (Photo courtesy of DSWD)

TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has begun the relief operations for families affected by last week’s flooding in Eastern Samar.  

Joshua Kempis, DSWD Eastern Visayas disaster response management division information officer, said it initially delivered over the weekend a total of 3,000 family food packs from its warehouse here through the assistance of the Office of the Civil Defense. 

“This was turned over to local government units (LGU) who requested augmentation from the regional office. As of now, our repacking of relief items is ongoing in preparation for augmentation requests from other affected areas,” he said in a phone interview on Monday.

 Kempis did not disclose the name of recipient LGUs as part of its standard security practice. The food pack is expected to last two to three days for a family of five, contains five kilograms of rice, assorted canned goods, and five sachets each of coffee and cereal drinks. 

As of Jan. 14, the DSWD regional office has 5,500 family food packs (FFP) prepositioned in strategic areas and a stock of relief items that can make up to 11,926 additional FFPs. Kempis said the region also has prepositioned non-food items, which include 3,575 tube skirts (malong), 91 kitchen sets, and 49 sleeping kits. 

A standby fund of PHP3 million can also be used to buy more relief materials when necessary, he said. “We are also expecting the delivery of 15,000 additional food packs from Visayas Disaster Resource Center in Cebu that we requested to increase the relief supply in the region,” he added. 

Last week, widespread flooding and minor landslides were reported in several parts of the region due to non-stop rains. Thousands of families were affected particularly in the towns of Sulat, Taft, Dolores, Arteche, Can-avid, Maslog, and Oras in Eastern Samar province; Catubig, Catarman, Las Navas, and San Roque in Northern Samar; and Matuguinao in Samar, according to the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. 

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said the region experienced heavy rains due to the tail-end of a frontal system and a low pressure area. (PNA)