Philippines El Niño Forest Fires OCHA Situation Report No. 1
Ref: OCHAGVA – 98/0180
1. The National Disaster Coordinating Council of the Department of National Defence of the Philippines reported that, as of 30 March, fires have already affected 15,000 hectares in Quezon and Rizal in Palawan. Latest assessment results indicate that the damage caused by the fire in the Barangay Sowangan in Quezon and in the Barangays Bunog and Iraan in Rizal is extensive. In Davao del Norte fires have also affected 200 hectares of forest of the Pacific Cordillera Mountain Range.
2. In the five affected barangays in Rizal, 54 families were rendered homeless who are now temporarily sheltered in evacuation centres.
3. In Davao del Norte, air reconnaissance to determine the extent of damage and to assess the situation is under way.
4. In Palawan, the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) organized Fire Suppression and Fire Prevention Task Forces. The Fire Suppression Task Force led by the Bureau of Fire Protection is assisted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Bantay Palawan. The Fire Prevention Task Force, led by concerned Local Government Units and assisted by the local Philippine Information Office (PIO) and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), is tasked to organize and mobilize Barangay fire brigades.
5. In order to augment the Fire Suppression Task Force, 500 army reservists have been mobilized. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) provided dump trucks to ferry the 500 army reservists to the disaster area. The Land Transportation Office, Palawan, sought the assistance of the owners of private vehicles by way of a discount rate or free use of their vehicles.
6. The National Food Authority (NFA) made available 1,000 bags of rice at 50 kilos per bag. Fifty bags of these were already distributed to the victims and volunteers’ subsistence. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) distributed the following food supplies to the affected families: 525 kg of rice, 525 packages of noodles, 175 tins of condensed milk, 525 tins of sardines, 100 packs of coffee, 525 tins of corned beef, 2 bails of clothing.
7. Palawan Radio Emergency Network (PREN) helped to set up communications systems, linking the PDCC Operations Centre and the disaster area.
8. The Government of the Philippines has approached the United States and Canada for assistance in terms of aerial fire fighting equipment.
9. To fight the fires and to support the affected population, the following needs have been identified by the National Disaster Coordinating Council so far:
a. additional shovels and “bolos” (machetes) for use of fire fighters in constructing fire breakers b. potable water or water purification tablets c. medicines for respiratory ailments d. tents.
10. OCHA Geneva is monitoring the situation through the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Manila who is in close contact with the National Disaster Coordinating Council.
11. For coordination purposes, donors are kindly requested to inform OCHA Geneva as indicated below, of relief missions/pledges/contributions and their corresponding value by item.
12. This situation report and further information on ongoing emergencies are also available on the OCHA Internet Website at: http:www.reliefweb.int
Telephone number: + 41-22-917 12 34 In case of emergency: Tel. + 41-22-917 20 10 Desk Officers: Ms. S. Metzner-Strack/Mr. R. Mueller, OCHA Relief Coordination Branch, direct Tel. + 41-22-917 21 44/31 31 Press to contact: Ms. E. Ponomareva, Tel. +41-22-9172336 Telex 414242 DHA CH Fax: + 41-22-917 00 23 E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org