The Philippine STAR Group’s humanitarian arm, Operation Damayan, answers Cagayanons’ call for help as it provides much-needed and immediate relief to families overwhelmed by Typhoon Ulysses (Vamco), thanks to a P2-million donation from Angelo King Foundation.
This is Cagayan Valley’s worst flood in 40 years. Although it wasn't directly in the path of the typhoon, the flooding in the province was the result of “accumulated effects” of Typhoons Ulysses and Rolly in the past three weeks, causing the tributaries of Cagayan River to swell. The situation was compounded by the release of water from Magat Dam in Isabela.
Large swaths of the province comprising over 2,000 barangays suffered from flooding last Thursday at the height of Typhoon Ulysses, which battered many parts of Luzon, including low-lying areas in Metro Manila. For now, affected families have no choice but to take temporary shelter in evacuation sites.
“The damage caused by Typhoons Rolly and Ulysses to life and property of our fellow Filipinos is nothing short of devastating,” Philippine STAR president and CEO Miguel Belmonte said.
He added, “All of us, whether in government or the private sector, should join hands to do whatever we can to help our countrymen in need.”
Belmonte also thanked kind-hearted donors for always lending a helping hand to those in need.
STAR lensman Michael Varcas pointed out the difficulty of providing rescue and relief to many areas under water at this time due to inaccessibility to land transport, even as flooding has eased and is expected to subside further in the coming days.
Archbishop Ricardo Baccay of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao shared with Operation Damayan that many of their parishes have taken in evacuees whose homes and livelihood were devastated by the unprecedented flooding.
Deaths, agricultural losses
The PNP reported at least13 dead, 20 injured and 15 missing in the aftermath of Typhoon Ulysses.
The losses in agriculture according to the Department of Agriculture have reached almost P1 billion, affecting 40,519 farmers and 51,241 hectares of agricultural areas.
The typhoon damaged croplands in the Cordillera Autonomous Region, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and the Bicol Region. “This includes commodities such as rice, corn, high-value crops, fisheries, and livestock,” the DA said in a statement last Friday.
Losses were also reported on irrigation facilities, fisheries facilities, and equipment, culled from reports from Ilocos region and Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, and Bicol region.
Damage to the country’s infrastructure—roads, bridges, flood controls, school and public buildings—was estimated by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) at P8 billion.
How you can help
Operation Damayan, made up of volunteer employees from the Philstar Media Group and headed by Belmonte, is mobilized to help during calamities.
In January, Damayan raised more than P5 million in donations from individuals and corporate donors, and conducted one of its biggest relief operations for Taal Volcano evacuees in Batangas, benefiting more than 5,000 families.
The late Angelo King established his philanthropic foundation in 1978. Known as the "Motel King of the Philippines," King died in a helicopter crash in 2015. He made his fortune in various businesses including a chain of motels. The foundation has supported orphanages, schools, homes for the aged, and has funded feeding centers for children and drug rehab centers.
Star’s Operation Damayan remains open to cash donations as relief operations in evacuation sites in Cagayan Valley commence early next week.
Donations may be deposited to Philstar Daily Inc./Operation Damayan Metrobank Savings Account No. 151-7-15152422-9, and deposit slips emailed to [email protected]. Interested donors may also contact 8527-7902 to 15 local 194.
Banner photo by Michael Varcas/Philippine Star