A big humanitarian assistance contingent from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will be helping in clearing out debris and wreckage left by super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ (international name: Haiyan) in Tacloban city.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the team will help in the ongoing repair and rehabilitation of areas virtually flattened by Yolanda.
He said the team, composed of at least 200 civil engineers, carpenters, mechanics, electricians, and laborers left for Tacloban at 3 a.m. on Tuesday and will stay there up to two weeks.
“Their mission is to help clear Tacloban of debris and wreckage that have blocked important roadways so as to hasten the safe movement of residents and emergency response units,” Tolentino said.
The humanitarian assistance personnel were handpicked from the MMDA’s Traffic Engineering Center (TEC), Metro Parkway Clearing Group (MPCG), Road Emergency Group (REG) and other special units. Also among the Tacloban-bound team are radio operators, nurses, welders, masons, and drivers.
Tolentino said the teams brought with them heavy equipment such as payloaders, dump trucks, tow trucks, forklifts, graders, backhoes, buses, and ambulances, and rescue and mechanic tools like hook lift, bolt cutters, generators, a water treatment machine, chainsaws, and battery-operated radios.
According to the MMDA chief, the humanitarian assistance teams will closely work with the local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRMC) to speed up the clearing and repair works,
“Leyte is devastated. Thousands were killed, and almost everyone lost their homes. It is our desire to help residents rebuild their communities and bring back normalcy to the city,” Tolentino said.
The MMDA has deployed over the weekend four rapid deployment search teams to Tacloban and Ormoc cities in Leyte and Eastern Samar to assist in the rescue and relief operations in the ravaged communities.
On Monday, the worst-hit Tacloban, where thousands have died, was declared under a state of emergency to curb looting and lawlessness in the city.
RITCHIE A. HORARIO