(Photo courtesy of Philippine Air Force)

MANILA – The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has provided air and ground support to the provincial government of Quezon, which was initially considered as the hardest hit area by the onslaught of Super Typhoon Karding.

Air support was provided through the PAF's Tactical Operations Wing Southern Luzon (TOWSOL) and Tactical Operations Group 4 which provided a S-70i "Black Hawk" combat utility helicopter for rapid damage assessment and needs analysis (RDANA).

"The PAF thru TOWSOL and Tactical Operations Group 4 provided support to the Provincial Government of Quezon headed by Hon. Angelena "Helen" Tan in conducting RDANA on Sept. 26, 2022," Air Force spokesperson Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo in a statement late Monday.

She added that the RDANA mission, using the S-70i, was flown over Polillo Island and the towns of Real, Infanta and Jomalig which were greatly affected by "Karding".

"Moreover, the PAF’s Bell 205, operated by the 505th Search-and-Rescue Group conducted RDANA/aerial reconnaissance in the other affected areas in the region," Castillo said.

In addition to the air mobility support, TOWSOL personnel also contributed to the ground efforts by helping in the repacking of relief goods at the Operation Center, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) in Quezon, Province.

A total of 16,000 food packs has been repacked and transported to Infanta, Quezon for distribution to the affected municipalities of Polilio Group of Islands, Real, Infanta, and General Nakar.

"The PAF extends its continuous support in times of calamities by providing all available air assets and personnel for humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) operations in service of the Filipino people," Castillo said.

PH Army conducts overflight for other typhoon-hit provinces

As this developed, the Philippine Army (PA) announced that its Aviation Regiment conducted an aerial reconnaissance and damage assessment flight in Aurora, Nueva Ecija, and Bulacan to provide real-time information for ground commanders and civil authorities on Monday morning.

"Army aviators, utilizing a Cessna 172 aircraft, flew over Aurora, Nueva Ecija and Bulacan to assess the extent of floods and agriculture and infrastructure damage left by the super typhoon. The mission complemented the PAF 'Black Hawk' and Bell 412 helicopters' rapid damage assessment and aerial reconnaissance flights over Central Luzon, the region that bore 'Karding' s brunt," Army spokesperson Col. Xerxes Trinidad said.

He added that the flight demonstrated the Aviation Regiment's readiness to conduct aerial reconnaissance missions in support of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.

Trinidad also said that PA units stepped up clearing efforts to ensure mobility in Central Luzon, the region that bore the super typhoon.

The 91st Infantry Battalion of the 7th Infantry Battalion, in coordination with the Aurora provincial government, conducted clearing efforts in calamity areas in the province.

The troops likewise evacuated residents living in coastal areas of Dingalan and San Luis towns in Aurora and Laur, Nueva Ecija.

"Meanwhile, 3rd Mechanized Infantry Battalion disaster response teams cleared toppled trees and debris left by 'Karding' in Tarlac City and other key roads in the province. Additionally, 70th Infantry Battalion troops, together with local government responders, cleared debris and uprooted trees that blocked key roads in Bulacan," Trinidad said.

He added that the 7th Infantry Division deployed nearly 200 personnel to assist in HADR efforts across Central Luzon.

"Moreover, the Headquarters Philippine Army, 7th Infantry Division, and the 2nd Infantry Division, and the 525th Engineer Combat Battalion marshaled nearly a thousand troops that comprise the Army’s standby force for the super typhoon," Trinidad said. (PNA)