Yolanda victims still living in tents in Tacloban evacuatedBy Joey Gabieta |Inquirer Visayas
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – Hundreds of families living in tents since Supertyphoon Yolanda destroyed their homes and much of this city last November were moved to safer locations Tuesday in the face of new threats posed by the approach of Typhoon Glenda.
Gerard Paragas of the City’s Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, said 157 families living in tents in two barangays in the San Jose district were evacuated to the Tacloban Astrodome Tuesday morning by the City government in coordination with the military, police and International organizations.
Latest figures from the government showed that 526 families or 2,169 person were evacuated, including many from Barangays 88 and 89, which were among the worst hit villages during the onslaught of Supertyphoon Yolanda on Nov. 8, 2013.
Paragas said the preemptive evacuation was necessary to ensure safety of the famiies still living in tents, which he said could easily be blown away by the new typhoon, which was bearing down on the Bicol peninsula Tuesday afternoon.
“We are giving priority to families living in tents in our evacuation efforts,” Paragas said adding that families still living along the coast and temporary bunkhouses would also be evacuated if weather conditions got worse.
Meanwhile, Jing Unay, an engineer with the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council of Northern Samar, said that at least 1,458 passengers bound for Luzon were stranded at the ports in Allen town, where Signal No. 3 had earlier been hoisted by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geological and Astronomical Services Administration.
Unay said that work in offices and classes in all levels were suspended Tuesday morning by Gov. Jose Ong.
Provincial legal officer Leah Estudillo said that governor had issued advisories to all mayors and disaster officials to monitor the situation in their respective localities.
Power in Tacloban and the Samar provinces was knock down by Glenda’s force.
Parts of Laoang, an island municipality in Northern Samar, and other seaside villages in the province were flooded due to Glenda’s torrential rains.
Northern Samar was without electricity Tuesday morning, and the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines said it suspended line checks and repairs due to bad weather.
In Western Samar, Calbayog City Mayor Ronaldo Aquino announced the suspension of classes in the face of heavy rains and strong winds. He also earlier ordered the forced evacuation of coastal villages.
In Southern Leyte, at least three houses in the coastal Asuncion village in Maasin City were destroyed after being battered by big waves spawned by Glenda.
A barge was reported to have run aground of Hindang, Leyte, due to big waves but its crewmen were rescued by the Coast Guard, officials said.
Classes at all levels in the province of Cebu were suspended before noon Tuesday, provincial schools superintendent Arden Monisit told the Inquirer in a telephone interview. He said the suspension of classes was ordered by Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III.
“After the Yolanda experience, the provincial government has been proactive,” Monisit said. “We have to be vigilant, that’s why we announced the suspension of classes.”
As of 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Signal No. 1 had been raised over the Camotes Islands, Northern Cebu and Cebu City.
Cmdr. Weniel Azcuna, spokesman of the Central Visayas command of the Philippine Coast Guard, said a total of 1,078 passengers were stranded in various ports after after 14 ferry crossings were cancelled. These trips were to have been to Ormoc and Hilongos in Leyte province, Hagnaya, San Remegio bound for Bantayan Island, and Tagbilaran City in Bohol.
Two fishermen suffered from hypothermia and bruises after big waves churned up by Glenda’s winds capsized their boat off the coast of Pontevedra in Negros Occidental, officials in Bacolod City said.
The two ventured out to sea at 8 a.m. and at 9 a.m a barangay tanod sought help from the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office of Pontevedra to rescue them, Dave Cuajao of the Provincial Disaster Management Team said.
In Iloilo City, the authorities reported that five vessels and 344 passengers were stranded at various ports on Panay after the Coast Guard suspended travel sea travel.
With reports from Carmel Loise Matus, Jani Arnaiz, Carla Gomez, Rachel Arnaiz and Nestor Burgos Jr., Inquirer Visayas