The Negros Oriental provincial government is planning to send P4 million in Quick Response Fund to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council to help victims of killer typhoon “Yolanda” even as it prepares for the landfall of “Zoraida”.

In yesterday’s meeting with the department heads and members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Gov. Roel Degamo said he intends to send the P4 million financial assistance the soonest, and urged the provincial DRRMC, that he chairs, to formalize the recommendation for approval by SP.

Degamo said preparations have paid off with a zero casualty among Negrenses despite the strength of the typhoon, and called for continues prayers for those affected, especially in Eastern Visayas.

He said he considers the calamities that hit the country as tests of the people’s faith in God, and that “only prayers can help us when nature strikes back as a result of the destruction and alteration of the environment”.

The provincial Social Welfare and Development Office is accepting donations, in cash or in kind, for victims of recent calamities, including “Yolanda”.

Meanwhile, the city fiesta directorate of Dumaguete yesterday announced that proceeds of the Miss Dumaguete 2013 pageant will go to victims of the typhoon in Tacloban.

Glynda Descuatan, a member of the screening committee and co-convenor of the fiesta, said the contestants and the organizer realized that “even while we celebrate, we cannot dissociate from the miseries of the victims of Yolanda.”

Churches in the Diocese of Dumaguete are also requesting for donations from parishioners.

Barangay and city officials, meanwhile, have called for continuous vigilance as another typhoon, with the local name “Zoraida”, entered the Philippine area of responsibility yesterday.

As of 6 p.m. yesterday, signal no. 1 was hoisted over Negros Oriental and Occidental, Siquijor, southern Cebu, Bohol, southern Antique, Iloilo and Guimaras in the Visayas, and in 13 other areas in Mindanao. “Zoraida” was estimated at 612-kilometer southeast of Hinatuan, with maximum sustained winds of 55 kph near the center, the PAGASA said.

Degamo said the PDRRMC remains on standby alert for the new weather disturbance, and urged the public not to panic.

Classes at the pre-school level were automatically cancelled yesterday afternoon, and Salustiano Jimenez, provincial schools division superintendent of the Department of Education, asked the media to help disseminate the information, especially for schools in hard-to-reach areas of Negros Oriental.*JG/JFP