TACLOBAN CITY – The local government of Limasawa, Southern Leyte will focus on rebuilding fishing boats damaged by Typhoon Odette to ensure a speedy post-disaster recovery.
With the regular arrival of food packs, hygiene kits, and some temporary shelter materials for families on the island, there is a need to start the recovery phase through the provision of livelihood assistance, said Mayor Melchor Petracorta on Tuesday.
“It is easy for us to recover since 80 percent of our people here are dependent on fishing. We have enough marine resources here. Our fishermen just need replacement of their damaged fishing boats,” Petracorta said in a phone interview.
If residents will be able to catch and trade marine products, they will have the means to buy shelter materials to rebuild their houses, the mayor said.
More than 90 percent of the town’s houses were damaged by the typhoon when it crossed the island on Dec. 16, 2021.
Fishing boats and coconut farms in the island town also suffered the same extent of destruction.
Government agencies and private organizations have been providing basic needs such as food, water, hygiene kits, and temporary shelter materials for affected residents.
Despite the assurance of food assistance, Petracorta said they could not just rely on food rations soon.
The mayor hopes that the government will assist them in repairing damaged boats by giving the residents needed materials.
“The problem with repairing their damaged boats is that they still need to travel to the mainland to buy materials. The two big boats with the capability to transport heavy materials were also damaged by the typhoon,” he added.
Based on the latest assessment from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources regional office, of the 365 fishing boats on the island, 196 were wrecked by “Odette” while 169 were partially damaged.
At least 658 fishing gears were lost when the typhoon struck last December.
The town’s fishery sector suffered PHP19.21 million worth of damages and losses.
The result of the assessment will be the basis of BFAR in the delivery of rehabilitation assistance.
On January 5, BFAR has sent six units of 20-footer fiberglass boats with engines and complete accessories as well as two upright freezers to Limasawa town as initial assistance.
Limasawa Island, the smallest town in the province of Southern Leyte is known to be the site of the First Catholic Mass in Asia in 1521. (PNA)