Food, water, fuel still scarce in typhoon-hit Visayas
CEBU CITY—Visayans who survived the fiercest typhoon since Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) in 2013 are struggling to find water, food, fuel and cash, days after Typhoon “Odette” (Rai) ravaged the region last week. Many areas still do not have electricity and telecommunication services are still intermittent.
In the island province of Bohol, major streets in the capital city of Tagbilaran are experiencing gridlocks as residents packed grocery stores to buy bottled water while others queued at automated teller machines (ATMs) and money remittance centers.
Residents also flocked to malls desperately looking for limited supply of bottled water and grocery items. Motorists continued to crowd gasoline stations in the city. At Tagbilaran-Dauis Junction, a line at a gasoline station stretched up to a kilometer. Joseph Lagare, 34, said he spent four hours in line so he could refuel his motorcycle. Lagare likened the situation to the aftermath of the 2013 earthquake that devastated Bohol. “It’s the same. People are looking for water and food,” he said.
In Southern Leyte province, residents had to travel up to 180 km to Tacloban City or Ormoc City to withdraw money from ATMs as electricity and communication lines were still down almost a week after the province was pummeled by the typhoon.
In Cebu, the provincial and city governments have imposed restrictions on the sale of fuel to prevent hoarding and reselling in the black market. Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama met on Tuesday and agreed to implement the restriction, which would allow the sale of fuel if this would be directly loaded into a vehicle tank.
Long lines have been observed at gasoline stations across Cebu after the typhoon, with some vehicle owners staying overnight to catch the opening of these stations. Many stayed for more than four hours in line to refuel.
There are exemptions for residents who will refuel generator sets. Owners need to show proof, like photos and other documents, that their purchase will go to generator sets.
A limit of 200 liters would be set for commercial generator sets while those being used in homes would be allowed a maximum of 10 liters.
Garcia has also issued an order limiting incoming international travelers to only Cebu residents to free up hotel rooms which are being used by residents as temporary homes because of the typhoon.
From Dec. 23, 2021 to Jan. 3, 2022, only returning overseas Filipinos who are Cebu residents will be allowed to enter the province through Mactan-Cebu International Airport.
“We will only accept Cebuanos or Cebuano residents, or those with Cebuano families to come home until our hotel room situation shall have improved,” Garcia said.