Exodus puts pressure on Metro Manila

Residents of Tacloban, who survived last week’s super typhoon disembark from a US KC-130 military cargo plane that flew them to Manila on Wednesday. Because more than 90 percent of the houses and buildings in the city were destroyed, the residents have little choice but to head for safer havens. AFP PHOTO

Residents of Tacloban, who survived last week’s super typhoon disembark from a US KC-130 military cargo plane that flew them to Manila on Wednesday. Because more than 90 percent of the houses and buildings in the city were destroyed, the residents have little choice but to head for safer havens. AFP PHOTO

THE exodus of people from Tacloban City and other parts of Visayas ravaged by Yolanda will put pressure on cities and towns in the National Capital Region and Mindanao.

Officials believe majority of the victims who fled disaster-stricken communities will end up in Metro Manila.

Already, some typhoon victims who were lucky to fly out of Tacloban are staying in the homes of relatives and friends in the metropolis.

Since thousands of families lost all their belongings and livelihoods in the tragedy, many of them will be looking for work in the metropolis.

But the cash-for work program launched by the International Labor Organization (ILO) to rebuild communities in the disaster areas may give some residents reason to stay in their provinces.

According to a statement from the organization, an estimate three million Filipinos lost their livelihoods because of the typhoon.

“The loss of life and the scale of the destruction are heart-breaking, and there are millions of people in desperate conditions,” Guy Ryder, the ILO director general, said.

“We’re working with government and social partners in the Philippines, and with our UN sister agencies, to help the communities affected by the tragedy and we call on the international community, and the public, to be generous in their support.”
Ryder said the people need to start rebuilding their lives.

As part of the $301 million flash appeal of the United Nations on Tuesday, the ILO put in place emergency employment programs that will aid those who have lost their livelihoods either temporarily or permanently.

The disaster response program will focus on employment opportunities to help rebuild the community infrastructure, including local markets, roads, drainage and access paths and debris clearance.

It will also “create jobs and develop skills to facilitate the construction of emergency shelters, and extend social protection to those employed, including a minimum wage and health and accident insurance.”

The ILO said “some” of the affected people may not be able to return to their previous work because of the disaster.

Forty-four percent of them are vulnerable workers—mostly subsistence farmers, fishermen and informal economy operators.

“Much of the livelihood infrastructure, such as farm-to-market roads, fishing boat landing sites and field irrigation has been destroyed or blocked with debris and requires urgent reconstruction or rehabilitation,” the ILO said.

The organization also extended their “deepest sympathies” and their “solidarity” to the victims of the typhoon.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and the damage the typhoon has inflicted on the people and the country. The scale of the destruction, and the suffering, is truly shocking.”

They want out
For the second day Wednesday, throngs of desperate residents waited for hours at the Tacloban airport, hoping to catch a flight out of the city.

Even fishing ports and government-owned ports saw a mad rush of people waiting for a ferry that will take them out of the scene of disaster.

Some residents, driven by desperation and hunger, begged on television, telling their relatives in Manila that they are willing to work as domestic helpers.

“We just need to leave this province. There is nothing left here for us. We don’t have a house anymore. We have no more things to save or bring with us. We just have the clothes we have been wearing since before the storm lashed out last Friday,” a woman said.

The mass migration from the Visayas took place as early as October, when a 7.2 quake hit Bohol and Cebu.

Five days after Yolanda ripped apart entire coastal communities, the situation in Tacloban was becoming ever more dire with essential supplies low and increasingly desperate survivors jostling at the airport.

“Everyone is panicking,” Captain Emily Chang, a navy doctor, told Agence France-Presse.

“They say there is no food, no water. They want to get of here,” she added, saying doctors at the airport had run out of medicine, including antibiotics.

“We are examining everyone but there’s little we can do until more medical supplies arrive.”

The United Nations estimates 10,000 people may have died in Tacloban, the provincial capital of Leyte.

At Tacloban airport, Agence France-Presse journalists witnessed exhausted and famished survivors pushing and shoving each other to get on one of the few flights out of the city, where festering bodies still littered many streets.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona admitted authorities were struggling to deal with the sheer numbers of the dead.

He told radio station DZMM they had “delayed” the retrieval of bodies “because we ran out of body bags”.

“We hope to speed it up when we get more body bags,” Ona said.

“We have been here for three days and we still cannot get to fly out,” said a frail Angeline Conchas, who was waiting for space on a plane with her seven-year-old daughter Rogiel Ann.

Her family was trapped on the second floor of their building as floodwaters rose around them.

They made their way to safety by clinging on to an electricity cable to move to a higher structure where they stayed until the waters subsided.

“It is a good thing the electricity had already been cut off or we would have died,” Conchas said. “We made it out, but now we may die from hunger.”

“People are desperate because they have nothing in Tacloban,” Marco Boasso of the International Organization for Migration said.

“Obviously the situation in Tacloban is appalling but we are also very concerned about outlying islands,” Patrick Fuller, Red Cross spokesman in the Asia-Pacific, told Agence France-Presse.

“There are a lot of them and I think it will be days, if not weeks, before we have a clear picture.”

Typhoon victims continue their appeal for food amid a great outpouring of aid from various nations and international groups.

In Metro Manila, students have been asked to bring canned goods, slightly used clothes, two kilos of rice each and noodles and biscuits for the typhoon victims.

Metro Manila mayors also agreed to adopt local governments battered by the typhoon.

The Metro Manila Council (MMC), which is the policy making body of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), approved in principle a resolution calling for the adoption of sister-local governments in areas devastated by the typhoon.

The meeting was attended by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino and metro mayors.

With A Report From Ritchie Horario


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1 Comment

  1. Please Nonoy can you make sure all the world donations will reach to all survivors Filipino also to all affected by yolanda. Spend every single centavos to improved educations and living standard. Please, please Nonoy we trust you, to do the right things and help all those in need.
    GOD BLESS, he will guide you inhat every decision you make.
    Make it your priority to see that no one left hungry and unhappy.
    My prayers that they all will find faith, hope and endurance with a better life, That they will all survived with open heart and get through all thier suffering,