The municipalities of Sto.Domingo, Malilipot and Tiwi declared states of calamity in September, after the drying up of natural springs which are major sources of water supply in these areas, DSWD-Bicol Director Arnel Garcia said Tuesday.
He said 55 barangays with more than 22,560 families or 108,358 persons in the three municipalities towns have been affected.
The cause of the drying up of water sources in the three towns has yet to be ascertained but some have attributed these to the recent activities of Mayon Volcano.
Mayon was put on alert level one status on Sept. 8, that indicated abnormalities in the volcano’s behavior.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), however, has not confirmed any direct connection between Mayon’s new alert status and the drying up of water sources in the three towns.
Garcia said DSWD-Bicol’s assistance, which has now amounted to PHP800,124, is in the form 10,258 pieces of six-liter bottled water that are being distributed to the three towns.
He said DSWD is continuously coordinating with the affected local government units to alleviate the scarce water supply situation in the areas.
“Water, especially potable water, is a basic necessity — it’s a human right. We cannot afford any delay in the delivery of services to the people affected,” said Garcia.
In Sto. Domingo, where 24,290 persons or 5,129 families in 17 barangays are affected, the local government passed a resolution on September 21 declaring a state of calamity.
Villagers tapped into alternate sources such as deep wells to cope with the situation.
In Tiwi town, DSWD-5 said 8,800 families or 44,000 persons from 20 barangays are affected by the water shortage.
The local government declared a state of calamity on Sept. 28 due to rising temperatures in the past few months that caused damage to crops and decrease in the supply of drinking water.
In Malilipot town, 8,631 families or 40,068 persons in over 18 barangays are affected by the water shortage.
Additional water provisions are being given by the Bureau of Fire Protection in Santo Domingo and neighboring Tabaco City to the affected municipalities. (PNA)