MANILA, Philippines – More than 905,253 families or 4,082,104 individuals in 36 provinces were affected by Typhoon “Yolanda” (international codename: Haiyan), prompting President Aquino to order the creation of command posts outside Metro Manila to oversee relief operations.
At a National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council briefing in Quezon City Saturday morning, representatives of the Department of Social Welfare and Development said 142,078 families or 487,195 individuals were staying in 2,467 evacuation centers in seven regions.
Eastern Visayas reported the biggest number of evacuees at 47,638 families or 165,828 individuals, followed by Bicol with 39,803 families or 151,349 individuals, and Western Visayas with 20,449 families or 80,342 individuals.
The DSWD said it had pre-positioned 37,550 food packs and augmented this with another P6 million worth of food packs that were now ready for distribution. The department also has a standby fund of P106 million for the needs of the typhoon victims.
The DSWD appealed for volunteers to assist in repacking relief goods.
The DSWD said its Disaster Response and Monitoring Department was working 24/7 with the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Department of Public Works and Highways and non-governmental organizations.
Tacloban, capital of the province of Leyte, was among the worst hit areas, with storm surges flooding large parts of the city, cutting off power and communication lines.
On the instruction from President Benigno Aquino III, Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras said the Tacloban Command Center was now in operation while another in Roxas City was being put up to oversee relief and rehabilitation in Western Visayas.
Also, the government will be using two logistics centers: one in Tacloban and another in Iloilo City.
Almendras said that additional relief goods were on their way to Tacloban, accompanied by Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman and Executive Director Eduardo Del Rosario of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, who were traveling on the same flight.
“We are very concerned about the situation there. That is precisely why Secretary Soliman is on the plane to Tacloban now,” he said.
Almendras said the government was accelerating the repacking of relief goods and would closely work with the DSWD and volunteers for immediate distribution.
Commercial shipping lines and airlines have offered to transport goods and personnel for speedier relief work.
The NDRRMC’s official death toll still stood at four despite reports in the media of massive loss of lives. The agency said it still had to receive official reports from government agencies involved in rescue and retrieval operations.
The Philippine Nation al Police reported that a total of 142,078 families had been evacuated in Capiz and that 90 percent of buildings and houses there had been damaged.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines said it was coordinating with the DSWD in establishing humanitarian command posts and was moving more personnel and resources to the areas affected.
The military was also coordinating with the local electric providers in areas that were still without power.
The Department of Public Works and Highways said it had completed clearing roads of uprooted trees and debris.