Coastguards move from boats to bicycles for Surigao del Norte relief operations

December 27, 2021 | 9:32

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard District of Mindanao north of the city of Cagayan de Oro has deployed personnel by bicycle to assist with search and rescue and relief operations to Siargao Island and the city from Surigao to Surigao del Norte, where communities are still reeling from the effects of Super Typhoon Odette (International name: Rai).

The Coast Guard District uses bicycles and trucks to transport donated food parcels, hygiene kits, power generators, clean water, toys and dog food, the Philippine Coast Guard said. . Of the 30 personnel deployed by the district, 10 are on mountain bikes.

“Cycling is the most efficient mode of transport in disaster areas and we believe it is the key to our operation due to the limited resources on Siargao Island and Surigao Town,” said the captain of vessel Geronimo Tuvilla, district commander.

According to figures released Sunday by the National Council for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, “Odette” affected 3,952,880 people or 1,012,997 families. Of that number, 546,100 internally displaced people remained in 1,198 evacuation centers across the country. There have been 378 deaths so far attributed to the typhoon.

“Odette” also caused nearly 16.7 billion pesos in infrastructure damage.

As the typhoon rolled out of the country’s area of ​​responsibility, the Philippine Coast Guard dispatched their ships to transport relief supplies to the Visayas and Mindanao regions as well as Palawan to help with disaster response.

The use of bicycles and personal mobility devices has increased since the March 2020 lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With public transport limited to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, many Filipinos have turned to bicycles for getting around and even in protest.