Tent city rises in Tacloban for Yolanda survivors. Survivors of Typhoon Yolanda who have been staying at the Tacloban City Astrodome since November 8, the day the super typhoon lashed most of the Visayas, have been transferred to temporary tent shelters on Tuesday, November 19. Mayor Alfred Romualdez said the city is slowly getting back on its feet following the massive devastation caused by Yolanda. PHL Gazette
(Updated 3:20 p.m.) Two weeks after typhoon Yolanda turned the bustling city of Tacloban into ruins, local and national officials said Thursday they are shifting their focus from running relief operations to rebuilding the city with the help of government personnel and ordinary citizens.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said the government can now begin restoring Tacloban City back to normalcy now that the situation in Leyte's capital has "somewhat stabilized."
"Kung noong nakaraang linggo ay para tayong nasa emergency room at nangangailangan ng pangmadaliang lunas, ngayon tayo ay umakyat na sa ICU (Intensive Care Unit). Malubha pa rin pero medyo stabilized na. Hindi magtatagal ay makaka-recover na rin tayo," he said in an interview aired on Unang Hirit on Thursday.
Roxas said government personnel from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Department of Public Works and highways (DPWH) have been working overtime clearing the streets of Tacloban City of debris from the typhoon to ensure they will be soon be passable to vehicles.
Despite the shift in the government's priorities, Roxas assured typhoon survivors that they will continue to receive relief goods and other forms of aid on a regular basis.
"Tuloy-tuloy ang ating pamimigay sa mga nasalanta ng mga food packs every two days. Bawat araw, mayroong at least isang army truck na dumarating at nagdi-distribute ng relief goods sa 40 bayan sa Leyte at 15 na bayan sa Eastern Samar. Sa gobyerno pa lang 'yan. Hindi pa kasama 'yung mga dumarating mula sa [non-government organizations]," he said.
Roxas said more than 860,000 food packs have been given to typhoon victims in the affected provinces since the Department of Social Welfare and Development began its distribution immediately after the typhoon Yolanda struck.
Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, however, said in another televised interview Thursday that the DSWD has distributed a total of 987,423 food packs
in Tacloban City, other towns in Leyte, Eastern Samar, and Biliran Island since relief operations began on November 9.
Soliman said the DSWD will continue distributing food packs to typhoon victims until the end of December.
"Sa sitwasyon ngayon, tatagal ho ito (pamimigay ng food packs) until end of December. At kung kinakailangan, may bagong budget tayong papasok at pwedeng-pwedeng tuluy-tuloy [ito]," she said.
Soliman said the agency is set to begin its cash-for-work program for typhoon victims in Tacloban City next week to help them earn money.
More than 10 million people affected
In its 6 a.m. update Thursday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said more than 10 million people have been affected
by the typhoon, which also left 4,011 people dead and caused damage amounting to P12.7 billion.
Tacloban City mayor Alfredo Romualdez, meanwhile, urged government employees affected by the typhoon to go back to work to speed up the city's rehabilitation.
Romualdez met Wednesday with local police officials to map out security plans for the city ahead of the planned resumption of the operations of some commercial establishments Friday.
"I've been challenging them (government employees) to go back to work so we can start making the economy move again. So far, with the efforts I've seen around here, I think we're on our way to moving forward," he said. —Xianne Arcangel/KG, GMA News