Tacloban learns from ‘Yolanda,’ reports zero typhoon casualty
TACLOBAN CITY—Applying lessons learned from last year’s experience saved lives this time.
Tacloban is regarded as “ground zero” for Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan), which hit Eastern Visayas on Nov. 8, 2013. A third of the more than 6,000 people killed by the monster cyclone in the Visayas were from the city.
Authorities in Tacloban reported “zero casualty” from Typhoon “Ruby” (Hagupit), which unleashed its fury on Saturday night.
Families, especially those living in danger zones, abandoned their makeshift houses and took temporary shelter in 88 evacuation centers identified by the city government.
Social welfare officer Gloria Fabregas said 11,121 families composed of 53,685 people, stayed in the centers, as well as in churches and mausoleums at the Chinese cemetery.
“I think the people learned their Yolanda lesson,” Fabregas said.
Go Tic Ching, Tacloban Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce president, however, complained that the Chinese cemetery along Bliss, Sagkahan district, was looted, prompting authorities to send policemen to the area.
Taken from the mausoleums were tables, chairs and candles. No arrest was made.
There was no other reported looting elsewhere in Tacloban, unlike a day after Yolanda hit the city, when mobs stormed business establishments.
Fabregas said some evacuees were turned away because the centers were already congested.
She cited Eastern Visayas State University, where only 900 families could be accommodated. Arrivals were sent to other evacuation sites.
Maria Lagman, head of the housing and urban planning office, said Ruby tested the durability of the 436 transitional houses in the city. Still, as a precaution, the families in these houses made of coco-lumber and nipa shingles were moved to schools and other evacuation centers.
Lagman said the protective measures taken by the city government were “successful.”
“Businesses will open tomorrow and we achieved our goal of zero casualty,” she said on Sunday.
Both Lagman and Fabregas agreed that the evacuees could return to their houses now that Ruby had passed.
In Southern Leyte province on Sunday, Gov. Roger Mercado likewise ordered the return of the 70,000 evacuees in 18 towns and Maasin City to their homes.
He announced that all classes and work in government and private institutions would resume Monday.
Mercado declared their typhoon preparedness a “success.” There was no casualty in the province during Ruby’s onslaught, he said.—With a report from Jani Arnaiz and Vicky Arnaiz, Inquirer Visayas
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