The government is now accelerating the process of normalization in areas recently battered by killer Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan)
Speaking to reporters, Presidential Communications Secretary Hermnio Coloma Jr. said that the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has created a task force for “peace and order, distribution of food and other relief goods, cadaver recovery and burial, clearing and inspection, and normalization.”
The government, he said, has stepped up its efforts to immediately attend to the needs of at least 1.4 million people in Leyte and Samar provinces.
“The government has ramped up operations in the delivery of relief goods to the hardest-hit regions. Priority one is the distribution of food packs to the primary target beneficiary groups, consisting of 275,000 families or approximately 1.4 million individuals in Leyte and Samar provinces,” Coloma said.
“These are also the areas with the most damaged homes numbering about 26,598. These areas account for almost 94 percent of the recorded fatalities totaling 3,982 as of the latest report of NDRRMC. Of this number, more than 3,000 are from Tacloban City and the nearby towns of Palo, Tanauan, Tolosa, and Dulag,” he added.
As of Tuesday, Coloma said that a total of 524,147 family food packs, 192,975 liters of water, and 58,876 units of high-energy biscuits have been distributed to those affected areas.
He said that some 24,770 personnel from both the government and private corporations and 88 local and foreign medical teams are also involved in relief and medical operations and maintenance of peace and order.
Among the countries that sent their medical teams are Belgium, Japan, Germany, Australia, Hungary, Canada, Norway, Switzerland, USA, Korea, South Africa, France, Italy, and Israel.
He said that at least 1,306 vehicles, 104 seacrafts, 163 aircrafts, 27,532 units comprising of various equipment are operating in the field “to fast track delivery of relief goods, clearing of debris, recovery and identification of cadavers for burial.
According to Coloma, the water supply in Leyte has been restored as well as the services of the dominant carrier.
He said that the mobile communication lines have been also fully restored in the provinces of Bohol, Cebu, Guimaras, and Negros Oriental.
In Eastern Samar, on one hand, the service restoration is only at 14 percent, Coloma added.
The Palace official underscored that “resumption of commercial activities is another indicator of normalization.”
To achieve this, Coloma said that the Department of Trade and Industry has organized a series of diskwento caravans in Leyte and Samar, selling basic commodities at discounted prices.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Rescue Legion volunteers are also working on restoring operations of all public markets as soon as possible, he said.
He added that various banks such as Land Bank of the Philippines, the Development Bank of the Philippines, and other Megalink and Bancnet affiliated banks in Tacloban City have set up on Tuesday mobile automated teller machines “to help expedite the resumption of commercial and economic activities.”
Meanwhile, Coloma said the Philippine Broadcasting Service-Radyo ng Bayan has been able to set up a broadcast facility in Tacloban City.
The facility, he said, operates from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. “to service calls for missing relatives and to give updates on relief, medical operations, as well as retrieval of casualties.”
The government has also established a media center and a PIA information desk “to facilitate the flow of information from the disaster areas and to assist journalists and broadcasters performing their responsibilities in that area,” he added. CATHERINE S. VALENTE