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DSWD runs out of money for storm victims
Updated 01:10pm (Mla time) Dec 07, 2004
Agence France-Presse

THE DEPARTMENT of Social Welfare and Development warned Tuesday it had run out of money to pay for relief services for victims of a series of storms that left more than 1,400 people dead or missing last week.

Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman told a Senate hearing that her department had already spent the entire 87 million pesos (1.55 million dollars) allocated for relief operations in 2004.

The department is the main provider of aid to those displaced by the storms that hit the northeastern part of the country, although other government offices also contribute, such as the health department, which gives medical aid.

Soliman said that to continue services to the thousands still homeless or displaced by the storms, "We would need 50 to 70 million dollars for relief operations."

This would be enough for one month of food supplies for the victims, she said, appealing to the senators to make emergency allocations to her department.

She said food would be handed out for free until December 15. After that the government would implement a "food-for-work" scheme where people would receive relief goods in exchange for taking part in rehabilitation efforts.

Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit said meanwhile there had been no outbreak of disease in the evacuation centers that have accommodated hundreds of people whose homes were swept away in the storms.

A powerful storm on November 29 spawned flashfloods, mudslides and avalanches of rocks and fallen logs that swept away whole villages in coastal villages.

Typhoon “Yoyong” (international codename: Nanmadol) hit a few days later, further worsening living conditions and hampering relief efforts.

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