[IN THE AFTERMATH OF YOLANDA,  TO THE SURVIVORS, HELPLESS AND SUFFERING:
Do not be afraid for God is always in charge. Faith is stronger than fear.
God is helping you carry your heavy cross"
AT PHNO WE ARE THINKING AND PRAYING FOR YOU ALL EVERYDAY]

THE SYSTEM FAILED, WHAT ELSE COULD I'VE DONE - PNoy

The government’s disaster response systems failed when emergency staff became victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda and were unable to work, President Aquino said yesterday.

ALSO: RECONSTRUCTION: DAUNTING SOCIAL COST

National Economic and Development Authority director general Arsenio Balisacan said that economic losses from typhoon Yolanda are easy to recover. “ It is the social cost that is harder and will take longer to reverse”, he said.

TACLOBAN, NOVEMBER 19, 2013 (PHILSTAR) By Jonathan Carson – The government’s disaster response systems failed when emergency staff became victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda and were unable to work, President Aquino said yesterday.

Visiting this city that was worst hit by the typhoon and its storm surge, the President said a backup system may be needed for better response to future natural disasters.

In another interview in Alangalang, Leyte, the President also took umbrage at those who have criticized the government’s response to Yolanda and its aftermath.

“I would ask these critics, what else could I have done, given the resources we have, and given the magnitude of the problem?” Aquino said.

In this city, reporters asked him if he was pleased with the pace of rescue efforts and if he was satisfied that enough was being done quickly.

He replied: “This was unique. We are visited by about 20 typhoons a year. This time around the systems failed.”

Why did the systems fail?

Aquino said response staff, including those from Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (LDRRMC) and police, were not able to report for duty following the storm.

“The destructive force of this typhoon was of such a magnitude that even the personnel involved in these LDRRMCs were themselves victims. For example, the police force in Tacloban City numbers 290 and only 20 were able to report for work,” he said. “We had a breakdown in power, we had a breakdown in communications, we had a breakdown in practically everything.”

Aquino said half of emergency relief goods that were in storage prior to Yolanda were contaminated by the waves.

He said there was a “perfect set of factors” that made responding to a disaster especially difficult.

“So am I satisfied with the pace? I’m never satisfied when it comes to addressing the needs of our people. Whatever is achieved now I always try to increase the efficiencies of all systems of government,” he said. “I think most of our people realize this was, in a sense, a typhoon of such magnitude and such strength that it really overwhelmed the systems.”

Coastal mapping for storm surge

The President said there may be a need to put backup systems in place so that teams from outside disaster areas are ready to respond in the event that local teams are unable to report for duty.

He said mapping of danger areas along the country’s 36,000-kilometer coastline needs to be done to better understand the risk of storm surges.

The President spoke to reporters after a tour of the Australian Medical Aid field hospital in Tacloban City yesterday afternoon and said he would be commissioning studies of the storm-prone coastline.

“We have a 36,000-kilometer coastline and we have to map out storm surge danger areas,” Aquino said. “New studies on all the storm surge areas have to be completed.”

Coastal areas in Leyte, Samar and the Visayas were not prepared for the ferocious waves that accompanied Yolanda on Nov. 8. People compared the storm surge to a tsunami as, according to witnesses, the water retreated from land before rushing back to shore.

The President called on international expertise to help with the assessment so that the process could be completed quickly and people would be more aware of the risks of future storms.

“Of course, more people working at the problem will give us the answers quicker. So at the end of the day we’re hoping to draw on the expertise of everybody willing to help us, augment the resources that we do have and get our people situated in a better situation at the quickest possible time.”

He added that greater effort needed to be made to educate people about storm surges to prevent being caught unaware again.

“When we started out people think of typhoons only in terms of the wind. Then, of course, after the Fukushima incident they started understanding tsunamis. The next step is understanding storm surges and unfortunately, the last one that struck this area was in 1984 so a lot of people don’t have memory of that.

“The next level will be more indoctrination on storm surges.”

FROM MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHT

RECONSTRUCTION: DAUNTING SOCIAL COSTSubmitted 22 hours 53 min ago by ANGELA CELIS. MALAYA


The social cost include sundered families, low morale, apathy, mendicancy.

National Economic and Development Authority director general Arsenio Balisacan said that economic losses from typhoon Yolanda are easy to recover. “ It is the social cost that is harder and will take longer to reverse”, he said.

The social cost include sundered families, low morale, apathy, mendicancy.

“We need to accelerate the implementation of social and economic development projects, particularly in the affected provinces,” Balisacan said.

“It is important to quickly assess the damage and losses and to determine the right sequence of government actions,” Balisacan said.

The Yolanda recovery and reconstruction plan aims to speed up government operations to enhance delivery of services in the affected areas; find and develop resettlement sites; and restore public utilities and facilities using upgraded standards.

NEDA is spearheading the development of a recovery and reconstruction plan to restore normalcy in areas hit by Typhoon Yolanda and help the affected local economies back on their feet.

The Economic Development Cluster of the Cabinet formed an interagency task force to craft the plan, focusing on immediate and near-term actions needed to rebuild facilities, restore social services and revive economic activities.

The plan, which will be presented to the President in two to three weeks’ time, will be implemented immediately following relief operations in affected areas.

“These actions must be completed in the shortest possible time, to restore people’s means of livelihood and revive economic and business activities,” Balisacan said.

The task force created by the Economic Development Cluster will prepare a detailed master plan, indicating short-term and long-term actions.

Immediate actions include assessment of damage to infrastructure and preparation of more resilient design standards for infrastructure projects.

These will be used in the rehabilitation and construction of critical infrastructure such as housing, roads and bridges, hospitals, provincial, city and municipal halls, seaports and airports, public markets, water supply and distribution systems, irrigation systems, power, telecommunications as well as other government offices and facilities.

FROM ABS-CBN NEWS

The day the sky fell on the Philippines

by Paul Henson, ABS-CBN News Posted at 11/19/2013 1:11 AM | Updated as of 11/19/2013 1:11 AM

(The following post was published in Russian in New Times in Moscow.)

It was one of the most gripping images I saw of super typhoon Haiyan when it struck central Philippines: a group of people on the roof of a house trying to evade fast rising flood waters, holding on for dear life as they were buffeted by rain, wind and storm surge in Tacloban City.

These images were captured on video by our news team on the ground.

For several tense hours, we lost all communication with our journalists. When we reestablished connection later, the full story of those people on the roof dawned on us: They were children in an orphanage called Street Life Philippines that was pounded and destroyed during the super typhoon.

They climbed the roof and held on for nearly two hours, refusing to be swept away by the violent waters.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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