5,235 DEAD, 7,000 MISSING, P22 BILLION DAMAGE AFTER YOLANDA

The confirmed death toll rose to 5,235, with another 1,613 people still missing more than two weeks after Yolanda destroyed entire towns across a long stretch of islands in the central Philippines, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said in its latest bulletin Saturday.

ALSO: Philippines typhoon death toll feared to hit 7,000

The government's confirmed death toll rose to 5,235, with another 1,613 people still missing more than two weeks after Super Typhoon Haiyan destroyed entire towns across a long stretch of islands in the central Philippines.

ALSO: Gov’t declares coastlines no-build zones

As the government grappled with the aftermath of what was believed to be the most powerful storm to hit land, the President directed Paje to draw up a comprehensive program on environment protection against storm surges, flooding and landslides. “Part of the President’s directive to the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) is to establish ‘no-build zones’ on coastlines to ensure the transfer of residents to safe resettlement areas,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said over radio.


5,235 DEAD OR 7,000 MISSING, P22 BILLION DAMAGE AFTER YOLANDA


http://1-ps.googleusercontent.com/h/newsinfo.inquirer.net/files/2013/11/638x403xreliefboy-e1385090370375-660x417.jpg.pagespeed.ic.9rWGTBsxg3.webp
DISASTERS have an immeasurable effect on children who are kept from going to school, like this boy in Tacloban who shields relief for his family from the rain, when classrooms or homes are destroyed. RICHARD A. REYES

MANILA, NOVEMBER 25, 2013 (INQUIRER) By Julliane Love De Jesus - There seems to be no end in sight to the trail of devastation in the Philippines left by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (internattional codenmae: Haiyan) as disaster authorities announced that the dead or missing has risen to 7,000 people and P22 billion worth of crops, homes and infrastructure have been destroyed.

The confirmed death toll rose to 5,235, with another 1,613 people still missing more than two weeks after Yolanda destroyed entire towns across a long stretch of islands in the central Philippines, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said in its latest bulletin Saturday.

More than half of the total number of deaths came from the provinces of Eastern Samar, Samar and Leyte with 4,914 fatalities.

The NDRRMC also said that up to P22 billion worth of agriculture and infrastructure were destroyed by the 19- mile per hour winds, the strongest ever recorded on land, and storm surges of up to nine feet.

Yolanda now rivals a 1976 tsunami on the southern island of Mindanao as the deadliest recorded natural disaster to strike the Philippines, which endures a never-ending battle against typhoons, earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions.

The typhoon has triggered a giant, international relief effort, with dozens of countries and relief organizations rushing to deliver food, water and health services to more than four million people who lost their homes.

However UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, after visiting the disaster zones, warned the world was still not responding fast enough to the disaster.

“Much more needs to be done. Food, clean water and shelter remain the top priorities,” Amos said as a UN appeal for funds was raised from $301 million to $348 million.

Amos said huge numbers of people were still exposed to bad weather in the nine provinces ravaged by the storm, as she warned particularly of the dangers for babies, children and mothers.

“I am very concerned that some 1.5 million children are at risk of acute malnutrition and close to 800,000 pregnant and nursing mothers need nutritional help,” Amos told a news conference at UN headquarters.

The World Bank on Friday added $480 million in emergency aid to the Philippines, taking its support to nearly $1 billion. The Asian Development Bank has also offered $500 million concessionary loans.

The US military has performed the highest-profile role in the relief effort, sending an aircraft carrier that arrived six days after the disaster that finally allowed relief supplies to start reaching isolated communities.

Japan also sent more than 1,000 troops aboard three vessels that arrived on Thursday night, in what is the biggest overseas deployment of the country’s military since its defeat in World War II nearly 70 years ago.

China, which is embroiled in a long-running territorial dispute with the Philippines, dispatched a 300-bed hospital ship, while Australia, Britain and Indonesia are among many other nations to have also sent military support.

The number of people confirmed killed jumped by nearly 1,200 on Friday to 5,209, as confirmed body counts were made in some flattened communities, the spokesman for the government’s disaster management council, Reynaldo Balido, told Agence France-Presse.

“If you notice, there was not much movement in the death toll for the past few days. This was because the reporting rules required a casualty report signed by the city mayor and his health officer,” he told AFP on Friday night.

“Now, the reports are coming in from the entire typhoon area.”

The death toll rose marginally again on Saturday morning, and was expected to continue rising over the coming days and weeks.

The typhoon on November 8 brought some of the strongest winds ever recorded and generated tsunami-like storm surges that flattened dozens of towns.

In Tacloban, the capital of Leyte province in the eastern Philippines where five-meter (16-feet) waves destroyed most buildings, 1,727 people have been confirmed dead. Another 451 remain missing.

The magnitude of the disaster has continued to stun and overwhelm President Benigno Aquino III’s administration. A few days after the disaster, Aquino said he expected the death toll would be between 2,000 and 2,500.

The Philippines is so prone to natural disasters because it is located along a typhoon belt and the so-called Ring of Fire, a vast Pacific Ocean region where many of Earth’s earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

But the only other natural disaster to compare with Haiyan for ferocity was the tsunami triggered by a magnitude 7.9 earthquake in 1976 that killed between 5,000 and 8,000 people on Mindanao.

Aside from the donations from foreign countries, over P500 million worth of relief assistance was provided to the affected families.

On November 11, Aquino has declared a state of national calamity due to the massive catastrophic damages Yolanda brought to several provinces.

FROM YAHOO ASIA

Philippines typhoon death toll feared to hit 7,000 AFP NewsBy Martin Abbugao | AFP News – 13 hours ago


Victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan make their way down a road blocked by the rubble of destroyed homes in Tacloban on November 23, 2013

TACLOBAN-The number of people dead or missing after one of the world's strongest typhoons struck the Philippines climbed towards 7,000 on Saturday, as the United Nations warned much more needed to be done to help desperate survivors.

The government's confirmed death toll rose to 5,235, with another 1,613 people still missing more than two weeks after Super Typhoon Haiyan destroyed entire towns across a long stretch of islands in the central Philippines.

Haiyan now rivals a 1976 tsunami on the southern island of Mindanao as the deadliest recorded natural disaster to strike the Philippines, which endures a never-ending battle against typhoons, earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions.

The typhoon has triggered a giant, international aid effort, with dozens of countries and relief organisations rushing to deliver food, water and health services to more than four million people who lost their homes.

However UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, after visiting the disaster zones, warned the world was still not responding fast enough.

"Much more needs to be done. Food, clean water and shelter remain the top priorities," Amos said as a UN appeal for funds was raised from $301 million to $348 million.

Amos said huge numbers of people were still exposed to bad weather in the nine provinces ravaged by the storm, as she warned particularly of the dangers for babies, children and mothers.

"I am very concerned that some 1.5 million children are at risk of acute malnutrition and close to 800,000 pregnant and nursing mothers need nutritional help," Amos told a news conference at UN headquarters.

Survivors plead for more help

In the coastal city of Tacloban, one of the worst-hit areas where five-metre (16-feet) waves surged deep inland and destroyed most buildings, survivors continued to complain about a lack of help.

"There is no steady supply of relief goods. It comes in trickles," said Maribel Senase, 41, as she held a baby and her husband sawed wood near their shattered home.

Senase, who has four children, said her family had received rice, dried fish and sardines, but they remained hungry.

The World Bank on Friday added $480 million in emergency aid to the Philippines, taking its support to nearly $1 billion, in an effort to spur efforts to rebuild homes and infrastructure.

The Asian Development Bank also last week offered $500 million concessionary loans.

The US military has performed the highest-profile role in the relief effort, sending an aircraft carrier that arrived six days after the disaster which finally allowed relief supplies to start reaching isolated communities.

Japan also sent more than 1,000 troops aboard three vessels that arrived on Thursday night, in what is the biggest overseas deployment of the country's military since its defeat in World War II nearly 70 years ago.

China, which is embroiled in a long-running territorial dispute with the Philippines, dispatched a 300-bed hospital ship, while Australia, Britain and Indonesia are among many other nations to have also sent military support.

Death toll keeps climbing

The number of people confirmed killed jumped by nearly 1,200 on Friday to 5,209, as confirmed body counts were made in some flattened communities, the spokesman for the government's disaster management council, Reynaldo Balido, told AFP.

"If you notice, there was not much movement in the death toll for the past few days. This was because the reporting rules required a casualty report signed by the city mayor and his health officer," he told AFP on Friday night.

"Now, the reports are coming in from the entire typhoon area."

The death toll rose marginally again on Saturday morning, and was expected to continue rising over the coming days and weeks.

In Tacloban, the capital of Leyte province in the eastern Philippines, 1,727 people have been confirmed dead. Another 451 remain missing.

The typhoon on November 8 brought some of the strongest winds ever recorded and generated tsunami-like storm surges that flattened dozens of towns.

The magnitude of the disaster has continued to stun and overwhelm President Benigno Aquino's administration. A few days after Haiyan struck, Aquino said he expected the death toll would be between 2,000 and 2,500.

The Philippines is so prone to natural disasters because it is located along a typhoon belt and the so-called Ring of Fire, a vast Pacific Ocean region where many of Earth's earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

But the only other natural disaster to compare with Haiyan for ferocity was the tsunami triggered by a magnitude 7.9 earthquake in 1976 that killed between 5,000 and 8,000 people on Mindanao.\

Gov’t declares coastlines no-build zones By TJ A. Burgonio Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:17 am | Monday, November 25th, 2013


http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/files/2013/11/aquino-paje-1125.jpg
President Benigno Aquino III. INQUIRER PHOTO Environment Secretary Ramon Paje. AFP

MANILA -President Benigno Aquino III has ordered Environment Secretary Ramon Paje to keep coastlines off limits to homes after huge waves spawned by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” swamped seaside villages in central Philippines.

At the same time, Congress is proposing to give Mr. Aquino at least P55 billion to rehabilitate typhoon-wrecked areas.

Given the huge cost of rehabilitation, the Senate and the House of Representatives are also seeking to authorize agencies to spend P21 billion in calamity funds in 2013 until the end of next year.

This is on top of the P14.6-billion supplemental budget in 2013 and the P20-billion rehabilitation fund in the 2014 budget earlier proposed by the Senate to deal with the aftermath of Yolanda and past storms.

As the government grappled with the aftermath of what was believed to be the most powerful storm to hit land, the President directed Paje to draw up a comprehensive program on environment protection against storm surges, flooding and landslides.

“Part of the President’s directive to the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) is to establish ‘no-build zones’ on coastlines to ensure the transfer of residents to safe resettlement areas,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said over radio.

In the country, the easement or setback from the shoreline high-water mark is currently at 20 meters. In other countries in the Pacific, the easement is from 50 m to 200 m, according to environmental planners.

Long shoreline

An archipelago with more than 7,000 islands, the Philippines has one of the world’s longest shorelines at 36,289 kilometers, data from the National Statistical Coordination Board show.

When it tore through central Philippines on Nov. 8, Yolanda (international name: “Haiyan”) spawned huge waves of 5 m to 7 m, cutting down homes, buildings and crops in its path and reducing many areas into a virtual wasteland.

Residents of seaside villages in Tacloban City in Leyte, Samar and other nearby provinces bore the brunt of the typhoon’s fury.

Yolanda left in its wake at least 5,235 dead and 1,631 missing and destroyed P11.9 billion in infrastructure and P10.5 billion in agricultural products.

The government blamed local officials’ lack of preparations, the residents’ indifference to warnings and their poor understanding of the weather bureau’s advisories on storm surges for the high death toll.
The country is buffeted by an average of 20 cyclones every year. Yolanda was the 25th storm to strike the country this year.

Coloma said Filipinos should learn from the painful lessons of Yolanda, as well as Tropical Storm “Sendong” and Typhoon “Pablo” that also spawned heavy flooding that left a high death toll among residents living near inland waters years ago.

He said areas that had been marked “danger zones” based on the geo-hazard mapping of the DENR’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau should be cleared.

“We should keep these lessons in mind so that we can build back better,” he said over government-run dzRB.

Replant mangroves

At the same time, the President directed Paje to replant mangroves in coastal areas as a natural buffer against storm surges.

“The mangroves are being prepared so that planting could start, because it takes five to seven years to grow this,” Coloma said.

He said victims displaced by the storm were allowed to stay with their relatives in Metro Manila. But those who have none could stay in the bunk homes set up by the government in their own provinces.

Cash for work

As the typhoon victims picked up the pieces of their lives, government agencies had begun offering cash-for-work program for 3,000 residents from 22 barangays in Tacloban and 70 barangays in neighboring Ormoc City, Coloma said.

The government is offering cash to the victims for clearing and cleaning up highways, public markets and plazas, clearing esteros and waterways of debris, and constructing schools and government buildings.

This would be expanded to other provinces and regions in the coming weeks, Coloma said.

“We’re also thankful for the assistance offered by the International Labor Organization to allot up to $300 million for the cash-for-work program for some 290,000 residents of Tacloban, Roxas City, Busuanga town in Palawan, Cebu, and the provinces of Negros Occidental and Bohol,” he said.

In the meantime, health and social welfare workers are ready to attend to 800,000 women who have given birth, or have yet to give birth, Coloma said.

“There are sufficient obstetrics kits for mothers delivering babies and there are sufficient number of midwives,” he said.

While mayors focused on rehabilitation, Department of Health officials have been authorized by Memorandum Circular No. 61 to man health and sanitation facilities in the calamity-stricken areas, he added.

Health personnel are ready to administer vaccines against measles, polio and tetanus.

“With regard to the risk of malnutrition faced by 1.5 million youngsters or children in the calamity zone raised by Ms Valerie Amos of the United Nations, the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) through its National Nutrition Council has the sufficient infrastructure for this,” Coloma said.

Joint resolution

Senate President Franklin Drilon and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. will file a joint resolution to extend the validity of funds for calamity response in the 2013 budget by another year.

“This is the first time we’re doing this given the situation,” Drilon said on the phone.

The resolution would extend the authorization to spend this year’s appropriations for calamity and other disaster and relief-related programs of some line agencies until Dec. 31, 2014, Drilon said.

The funds, estimated at P20.8 billion, were needed to “fully support the urgent relief and long-term rehabilitation” of calamity-stricken areas across the country, he said.

Free up funds

If adopted by both chambers, the joint resolution would free up the funds for agencies dealing with disaster-relief and rebuilding projects.

Otherwise, if they would remain “unobligated” by year-end, the funds would revert to the National Treasury and could no longer be used by the start of the next fiscal year, Drilon said.

“It will be adopted by both chambers,” he said of the resolution.

Both the Senate and the House are also pushing for the creation of a P20-billion rehabilitation fund for typhoon-stricken areas in the P2.268-trillion 2014 budget.

Drilon said the fund would address the damage brought about by recent calamities, including Yolanda, Typhoon “Santi” that hit Central Luzon, the siege in Zamboanga City and the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol and Cebu provinces.

After the Supreme Court ruled that the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) was unconstitutional, Drilon filed a bill authorizing the President to use the unspent P14.5 billion in PDAF in 2013 for repair and reconstruction.

The supplemental budget to be funded with the unspent pork barrel should be approved ahead of the 2014 budget, otherwise it could not be used, he said.

The calamity funds in 2013, the supplemental budget and the rehabilitation fund add up to P55 billion, and these will be at the disposal of the executive department, Drilon said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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