P-NOY PROBES 'EXTRAORDINARILY HIGH' NUMBER OF DEATH TOLL

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III ordered two Cabinet members Friday to look into what he described as the “extraordinarily high” number of casualties in some areas devastated by super typhoon Yolanda on Nov. 15.

ALSO: EVACUEES' WOES PILING UP

On Saturday, some 500 evacuees from Guian, Easter Samar and Tacloban landed at Villamor Airbase aboard two C-130 military cargo planes, authorities said. A good number of the evacuees might have sought refuge in neighboring areas like Cebu and Negros. With more and more people leaving the typhoon-ravaged areas in Visayas, the International Organization for Migration has begun screening evacuees to protect them from human trafficking syndicates.

ALSO: Gov’t vows sustained aid for Yolanda survivors  

“If they need housing, they will be placed in bunkhouses that are now being put up. If they need nutrition, they will be given nutrition,” he added. Temporary shelters for the typhoon victims were built as relief operations shifted to rehabilitation effort.


P-NOY PROBES 'EXTRAORDINARILY HIGH' NUMBER OF DEATH TOLL


FROM REUTERS-Victims: The bodies are just a tiny fraction of the death toll from the typhoon and agencies say mass graves are being filled with hundreds of people

MANILA, NOVEMBER 25, 2013 (MANILA STANDARD) By Joel E. Zurbano - PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III ordered two Cabinet members Friday to look into what he described as the “extraordinarily high” number of casualties in some areas devastated by super typhoon Yolanda on Nov. 15.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said these areas included Tacloban City, Tolosa, Tanauan, Palo, Dulag and other nearby areas, which, according to statistics, accounted for more than 90 percent of all the casualties.

Mr. Aquino tapped Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo to look into the number of casualties and correlate them to satellite images that measured the severity of the typhoon’s impact.

“There are available satellite tracking records that will show not only the impact of the typhoon but also the areas that were hit hardest,” Coloma quoted Montejo as saying during a meeting with the President.

Opposition lawmakers immediately attacked the President’s order, with Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan describing it as “strange.”

She said the President should be concerned with the suffering survivors, not the dead.

“He should be more concerned with the distribution of relief, which is severely hampered by politicking,” Ilagan added.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon slammed the President’s call for a fact-finding body to assess the death toll on super typhoon Yolanda.

“The exact death toll should be reflected without hedging by Malacanang. It gives dignity and honor to the countless and nameless dead. It also reflects gross government’s incompetence in preparing and responding to Yolanda,” Ridon said.

Isabela Rep. Rodoflo Albano III expressed concern over what he said was the Palace’s “obsession” with the death toll.

But administration ally and House Deputy Majority Leader Sherwin Tugna supported the President’s call for a probe, saying this information could be used to prevent the same devastation from happening again.

The latest report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council showed that the death toll had climbed to 5,209, 23,404 injured and 1,611 missing.

Task Force Cadaver, which is in charge of collecting the bodies of those killed during the typhoon, has already accounted for 1,755 bodies since Saturday, when they started collecting cadavers from Tacloban City, which was flattened by the typhoon.

Earlier, the President told CNN that initial estimates of 10,000 dead were too high, and that the death toll was most likely between 2,000 and 2,500.

The official count has long since surpassed the President’s estimate, but reports on the actual toll varied.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II admitted on Friday that the toll from Yolanda had reached more than 5,000 deaths, 4,919 of which were from Eastern Visayas.

Roxas said at a press briefing that Task Force Cadaver had collected 1,755 bodies from Tacloban City alone, but said the figure had yet to be validated.

Eduardo del Rosario, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said the figure Roxas mentioned did not include 290 other deaths from other regions.

“If we include all regions, our tally will be 5,209 dead [excluding the unvalidated 1,755 deaths in Tacloban City], 23,404 injured and 1,611 missing. That is our latest figure,” Del Rosario said.

Del Rosario again denied that he had been ordered to stop releasing death toll figures and explained that the tally stalled at 4,011 on Thursday because the disaster agency was still waiting for reports from the field.

“Let us settle that. There are accusations that... we received orders not to release the figures. That is not true,” Del Rosario said. With Francisco Tuyay and Maricel V. Cruz

Evacuees’ woes seen piling up By Sara Susanne D. Fabunan | Nov. 24, 2013 at 12:01am 1


To the rescue. A medical team attended to the evacuees who arrived on Saturday at Villamor Air Base in two batches aboard a military cargo plane while their kinsmen (inset) waited at the grandstand. Over 10,000 evacuees have left the disaster zones in the aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda. SONNY ESPIRITU

MANILA - Migration office warns of ‘vulnerabilities’

With more and more people leaving the typhoon-ravaged areas in Visayas, the International Organization for Migration has begun screening evacuees to protect them from human trafficking syndicates.

 At least 10,088 evacuees have arrived at the Villamor Air Base, the Social Welfare department said, but other estimates said up to 5,000 people a day are fleeing the disaster-hit areas.

On Saturday, some 500 evacuees from Guian, Easter Samar and Tacloban landed at Villamor Airbase aboard two C-130 military cargo planes, authorities said. A good number of the evacuees might have sought refuge in neighboring areas like Cebu and Negros.

The IOM has also warned of the vulnerabilities among those living in evacuation sites.

Findings by the IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix indicated poor access to food, water and sanitation in a number of sites in Tacloban.

Across a broad swathe of the Visayas, some 387,000 displaced people are now living in 1,550 temporary sites, the IOM said.

In Tacloban alone there are 44 such sites housing 15,500 individuals. Many people are also living in informal settlements in and around the city.

The majority of those being airlifted out of Tacloban are flying for the first time in their lives.

IOM is assisting through its Migration Outflow Desk, established on Sunday 17th November at Tacloban’s badly damaged airport.

IOM works with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in collaboration with UNHCR and the Salvation Army to screen the evacuees.

Over 1,000 people have passed through the Migrant Outflow Desk from Tacloban city alone in the past five days.

Some 80 percent of evacuees are headed to Manila, where they have family or friends.

“We’re gathering demographic details of passengers, their intended final destinations and whether or not they will have an income to live on when they arrive where they want to go,” Tya Maskun, head of IOM’s Tacloban office, said.

“We plan to replicate the system across the affected area as quickly as possible, as there is clearly a danger of individuals being trafficked,” she said.

“Others are making their way to Manila by boat and by road,” Maskun said.

An estimated 1,000 people are leaving from Guiuan, one of the worst affected towns, every day.

Most of the 800 or so people leaving Tacloban every day arrive in Manila and are met by family or friends. But others are not so fortunate and have been staying in a growing tent camp near Manila’s Jesus Villamor Air Base, the IOM said.

Almost half of those leaving screened by IOM have no means of financial support, the IOM lamented.

Social Welfare’s Corazon Soliman sought the help and understanding of local government units in Metro Manila and called upon them to extend public service to the refugees.

The Visayas is an area known for human trafficking and the authorities are concerned that the enormous disruption to daily life caused by the typhoon of 8th November may be exploited for criminal purposes, in particular child trafficking, the IOM said.

In addition to those in shelters, there are another 3.94 million people staying with host families or on the site of a damaged house, while the country remains in typhoon season. With Frank Tuyay

Gov’t vows sustained aid for Yolanda survivors (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 25, 2013 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - The government will continue to provide assistance to survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda to ensure that their lives will return to normal, a Palace official said yesterday.

Press Secretary Herminio Coloma said they have allowed some of the 6,000 evacuees, whom he called “internally displaced persons,” to seek shelter with their families and friends in the Visayas or in Metro Manila.

“Those who have no one to run to, the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) is giving them immediate help because we do not want them to be victimized by human trafficking. They are now being taken care of by various agencies and LGUs (local government units) in Metro Manila,” Coloma said.

“If they need housing, they will be placed in bunkhouses that are now being put up. If they need nutrition, they will be given nutrition,” he added.

Temporary shelters for the typhoon victims were built as relief operations shifted to rehabilitation effort.

“The national government will help these internally displaced persons return to their provinces so that their lives will be back to normal, and they can be reunited with their relatives and loved ones,” Coloma said.

Cash-for-work program

The Palace official said the Department of Labor and Employment is beefing up its emergency employment program to alleviate the plight of workers displaced by Yolanda.

The emergency employment program aims to help disaster-stricken families rebuild their lives by providing them with better access to sustainable income.

Coloma said around 3,000 residents from 22 barangays in Tacloban City and 70 other villages in Ormoc are benefiting from the cash-for-work program of the DSWD and the Department of Agriculture.

The typhoon survivors were tasked to clear roads, public markets and plazas of debris in exchange for cash.

Coloma added that the International Labor Organization (ILO) is helping the government put in place an employment program to help those who have lost their livelihoods to the typhoon.

“We thank the offer made by ILO for the allotment of about $300 million for the cash-for-work program for roughly about 290,000 individuals from the areas hardest hit by the typhoon,” he said.

Fewer evacuees

The exodus of typhoon victims from the Visayas to Manila is expected to decrease, with the non-stop distribution of relief goods and the resumption of the delivery of basic services in several areas hit by Yolanda.

The DSWD said that only one C-130 plane carrying 113 evacuees arrived in Manila yesterday.

Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman said some of the evacuees in Metro Manila sought the agency’s assistance so they can return to Leyte and Samar. — Delon Porcalla, Rainier Allan Ronda


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2013 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE