By Ameena Tara D. Manio and Angelyn S. Lacambra
Aparri Mayor Shalimar Tumaru together with the United States Agency for International Development Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID-OFDA) led the inauguration of the Bisagu Evacuation Center, the first-ever evacuation facility in Cagayan. “The center will serve as a shelter for victims of calamities from nearby barangays like Bisagu, Navagan, and Sanja. These barangays are prone to flooding during the onset of intermittent rains,” Tumaru mentioned during the event held at barangay Caagaman, Aparri, Cagayan.
Mayor Tumaru also said that the establishment of the evacuation center is timely because they are now experiencing rainy months. “The center will serve as a refuge and security for the residents in times of disasters. It can also be utilized as a warehouse for stockpiling grains and other commodities and can be used as a training center for the residents,” Tumaru explained.
Meanwhile, Benjamin Hemingway, representative of USAID-OFDA lauded the efforts and support of the PDRRMC, the municipality of Aparri, and other partner agencies in the completion of the center. He said, “without your help this endeavor will not be successful. We are now having a change in climate and is a global experience. Flash floods and other catastrophes are inevitable and unpredictable. We chose Aparri as the first recipient of this project because we know that you are vulnerable to calamities considering that your area is a catch-basin of flood water. We hope that you will take care of the facility and embrace it as your home,” Hemingway said.
On the other hand Bonifacio Cuarteros, Head of the Provincial Climate Change Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PCCDRRMC) advised the residents to be cooperative in dealing with calamities. He said, climate change is a global phenomenon and we must be ready to fight its threats. “We have to be watchful and ready at all times to avoid accidents. Let us all work together to take care of our nature so that we can help mitigate its effects,” Cuarteros said.
Other partners of the endeavor are the Provincial Government of Cagayan, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Office of Civil Defense (OCD), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), World Food Programme among others.