Tourist haven Coron suffers heavy damage from ‘Yolanda’
Island loses power, is now running out of foodBy Redempto D. Anda |Inquirer Southern Luzon
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Philippines — The tourist town of Coron has remained isolated from the outside world as of Sunday, as national and international attention all focused on Leyte, particularly Tacloban City.
Coron’s airport was destroyed, its water supply contaminated and no relief efforts from the outside have managed to reach the island-municipality also ravaged last Friday by “supertyphoon Yolanda” (international name Haiyan).
Coron Mayor Clara Reyes has appealed for outside help, saying they were fast running out of resources to feed over 14,000 evacuees and homeless residents in the town proper alone.
An undetermined number of tourists have also remained trapped in the town proper including those from island resorts around the seas surrounding the town since they were evacuated before the typhoon made landfall on Friday.
Reyes said she has asked the Department of Tourism for help specifically in providing assistance to the stranded visitors and helping them get to Manila.
She added that nine remote and island villages of Coron have been cut off from the town center and they haven’t received new information on the situation there.
At least six people were confirmed dead in the wake of Yolanda’s rampage there Friday night, with all of the victims coming from the coastal areas.
Reyes estimated the total damage would reach P10 billion. In the town proper itself, she said that 70 to 75 percent of the houses and structures were damaged.
“We are appealing for outside help. We are doing everything possible but we are running out of resources,” Reyes told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a phone interview on Sunday.
Palawan Gov. Jose Alvarez managed to get to the island Saturday afternoon via a private helicopter to assess the situation and help distribute relief goods, the mayor said.
Reyes said their main problem was the absence of potable water as the town’s public water supply has become contaminated.
She said they have managed to clear the runway, although the tower and the airport’s facilities have been completely destroyed.
“The airport’s terminal is completely (destroyed). We are cut off from air and sea,” Reyes said.
The power facility serving the towns of Coron and Busuanga have been knocked off and the electric cooperative said it would take them at least a month to re-establish the power supply.
The town’s lone hospital, according to Reyes, was running on small generators “but we are also running short of fuel supply in the island.”
Reyes said they have begun setting up “soup kitchens” in the barangay centers to feed local residents, most of whom have no more houses.