At least a million people outside Tacloban City are also suffering and need immediate assistance after their communities were flattened by Super Typhoon Yolanda.
Government aid in these areas arrives in trickles, if any, according to officials.
Rep. Sergio Apostol of the 2nd District of Leyte said that in his district alone, at least 200,000 people have been displaced, mostly in the towns of Dulag, Mayorga, and MacArthur.
The towns of Barugo, Burauen, Capoocan, Carigara, Dagami, Jaro, Julita, La Paz, Pastrana, Tabon-tabon and Tunga were also affected.
“These towns were totally destroyed, including lines of communication. In the 14 towns in my district, there were two who died after being pinned by fallen trees.
We evacuated more than 200,000 people before the typhoon, so they are displaced. The houses, municipal halls, health centers, school buildings are all blown up,” Apostol said.
The storm surge in his district reached 15 feet so it was no surprise that everything was wiped out, he said.
“The mayors here are asking me, where is the aid? Aside from food, we would need an urgent internal rehabilitation for three to four months,” Apostol added.
Some residents harvested their crops before Yolanda hit, sop they had something to eat while waiting for government and international aid, he said.
“Our district is really the food basket of Leyte and Samar. It is fortunate that the people harvested gabi (taro) and banana, in addition to palay, ahead of Yolanda, and so the people here need food but not as bad as those who are in search of food in Tacloban,” Apostol said.
He said Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Abaya has assured him that the government will send two trucks which can carry 10 tons of relief goods for each of the affected towns in his district. The goods will be enough for two weeks.But Apostol is afraid that the promised aid may not reach his district because of reports that food convoys were hijacked by insurgents.
“I really want to protect the food convoy for our district. I suggest that the convoy not pass through Tacloban, because it can be stopped by the people there. Those in the news wherein NPAs are attacking food convoys are not really NPAs. They are thieves. No other way to say it,” he said, referring to the New People’s Army.
Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas, who visited Capiz on Tuesday, also expressed alarm over the situation in Capiz which has a population of 700,000.
“I was there in Capiz two days ago and there were long lines [of people waiting for aid]. They need food and drinking water. Houses of light materials were wiped out.
I would say 95 percent of the province was damaged. That is how bad it is,” Treñas told reporters.
Iloilo City serves as one of the relief operations hub for Yolanda victims in Western Visayas that include Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo and Negros Occidental.
“They are just starting to clean up. I have seen one C-130 [plane]bring 1,200 packs of relief goods, but when I was there eight municipalities are yet to be reached,” Treñas said.
Eastern Samar is likewise suffering. According to Rep. Ben Evardone, who is a former governor of the province, 211 people were killed and 49 are missing in the province.
He said 52,041 families were affected and 7,917 houses were wrecked.
Evardone is particularly concerned about the lack of fuel in the province because the typhoon destroyed fuel depots.
“Aside from food and medicines, Eastern Samar needs fuel. We have no supply of fuel since we used to rely on Tacloban. Now that Tacloban is down, we will have to source it somewhere,” Evardone said.
He appealed to oil companies “to supply us with fuel as soon as possible, The province is paralyzed.”