DSWS: Ermita fire destroys at least 131 houses, displaces 1,500 residents
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The fire that gutted a densely populated area in Barangay Ermita, Cebu City Tuesday afternoon, February 5, displaced at least 1,500 individuals.
In a text message sent to Cebu Daily News Digital, Flora Bartolome, acting director of the Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS) of the Cebu City Government, said as of 5:50 p.m., the number of families affected by the fire reached to 262.
“Partial report as of 5:50 p.m. Houses affected: 131, Families affected: 262, Number of persons: 1,500,” Bartolome said.
She also said they are expecting the figures to increase considering that the fire affected three sitios – Vendor, Bato, and Kastilaan.
“Yes, we are expecting for the numbers to increase,” said Bartolome.
Some of the victims are now staying inside the gymnasium in Barangay Ermita, and on the ground floor of the unfinished Unit II building of Carbon Public Market.
Personnel from the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and DSWS have started distributing relief packs such as food and first-aid kit for the victims.
Initial findings from fire investigators showed that the flames started from a house owned by a certain Ronron Sarmiento. However, they are yet to identify the cause of the fire, and the cost of the damage it incurred./dbs
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