RELIEF AID. Personnel of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office of South Cotabato distribute food and cash assistance to one of the households affected by a mild tornado in Tupi town last Sunday. A total of 29 families from barangays Poblacion and Bunao were affected by the incident. (Photo courtesy of the provincial government)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- The provincial government of South Cotabato has released financial and food assistance to at least 29 families affected by the mild tornado in Tupi town last Sunday afternoon.

Rolly Doane Aquino, operations and warning head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), said in a report released on Thursday that the recipients were from portions of barangays Poblacion and Bunao that were ravaged by the tornado.

As directed by Governor Reynaldo Tamayo Jr., Aquino said they released last Tuesday a total of PHP140,810 in cash assistance to the affected families, whose houses were partially damaged due to the incident.

He said the food items consisted of rice, various canned goods, coffee, and sugar.
“We made sure that the assistance was given to them within three days,” Aquino said.

During the incident, which happened at the height of heavy rains at about 3 p.m. on Sunday, he said several decades-old trees were uprooted, damaging houses and other properties.

A huge tree fell on a gasoline station while the day care centers in Poblacion and Bunao were also damaged, he added.

Aquino said a team from the PDRRMO assisted the repair of the damaged street lights in the two barangays.

He said they facilitated the restoration of the damaged power lines by personnel of the South Cotabato 1 Electric Cooperative.

Tupi is one of the four municipalities in South Cotabato that experienced the onslaught of several tornadoes in the past years, as reported by the provincial social welfare and development office.

The other tornado-hit areas are Tampakan, Banga and Lake Sebu towns.

Aquino said they were working with local government units to make sure that dead trees are properly cleared in local communities to prevent major damages during such incidents. (PNA)