MANILA, Nov 13 (Mabuhay) – The Aquino government is stepping up its efforts to rebuild the lives of the typhoon victims following the devastation wrought by super typhoon “Yolanda” (internationally known as Haiyan) in the central Philippines, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said.
“On this fifth day since the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda, the government is conducting intensified operations to address the urgent needs of our people in the calamity areas,” Coloma said during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Wednesday.
The government is ensuring the immediate delivery of food, water, medicines, and medical assistance to disaster victims, Coloma said.
Coloma said the government is now stepping up its efforts to immediately provide temporary shelters for displaced residents.
He said the administration is also prioritizing the restoration of power and communication, and land, sea, and air transportation services.
The government is also beefing up efforts for the restoration to normalcy of essential government services in hardest-hit calamity areas where government employees and their families were also displaced.
Coloma acknowledged the fact that government’s initial efforts were hampered by the massive scale of destruction brought about by what is now being regarded as “the strongest cyclone in recorded history.”
“Communication and power lines were cut-off. TaclobanAirport was destroyed. Access to seaports in calamity areas was also made difficult by the debris left by the storm surge. Roads and bridges were also destroyed. Power and communication services have been restored in many areas,” he said.
“C-130 planes are now doing sunrise to sunset operations. The Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard have deployed all available naval assets and are tapping civilian auxiliary units to provide additional assistance,” Coloma stressed.
To facilitate delivery of aid, Coloma said the Natural Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has established a one-stop shop, which will integrate the flow of assistance to the calamity areas from government and private organizations.
Coloma appealed to the public to remain calm during this most difficult times.
“Beinte-kuwatro oras po ang operasyon ng pambansang network ng PTV-4, Telebisyon ng Bayan, at Radyo ng Bayan 738khz para tanggapin ang mga panawagan ng mga mamamayan sa hindi pa ma-contact na mga kamag-anak at upang tumugon sa mga mahahalagang pangangailangan,” he said.
“Maaari rin pong gamitin ang mga Facebook, Twitter, at iba pang social media accounts ng PTV-4, Gov@Work, at Philippine Information Agency (PIA). Nagtayo na rin ang pamahalaan ng mga assistance desk sa NDRRMC sa Camp Aguinaldo at sa lugar mismo ng kalamidad sa Tacloban at Ormoc, Leyte; Borongan, Eastern Samar; at Catarman, Northern Samar. Ito ay pinapangasiwaan ng NDRRMC sa pakikipag-tulungan ng PIA at Philippine National Red Cross,” he said.
“May mga roving teams ang Philippine Information Agency at Red Cross sa mga lugar na ito upang mangalap ng impormasyon mula sa mga nakaligtas tulad ng pangalan at larawan ng mga hinahanap upang maihatid sa kani-kanilang mga kamag-anak sa labas ng lugar,” Coloma .
As of the last update from NDRRMC, Coloma said the total number of casualties has reached 1,833, while 2,623 have been reported injured. Cost of damage is estimated at P761.4-million. (MNS)