MANILA, Nov 10 (Mabuhay) – With Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) having exited the Philippines, President Benigno S. Aquino III on Saturday evening instructed government agencies to focus on providing those affected with food, water and shelter.
But the President also said he wants some local government units to explain their seeming lack of preparation for Super Typhoon Yolanda.
“So actually the last instruction to this meeting was: Nalagpasan natin yung hagupit ng bagyo; tragedy naman kung yung post, doon tayo talagang pumalpak (My last instruction to the agencies concerned after the meeting was that we have survived the worst of Yolanda. It would be a tragedy if many people died because we failed to provide them with care),” the President said after getting a briefing on the situation at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo.
He said the priorities for those affected include food, water and shelter to protect them from the elements.
Those exposed to the elements run the risk of getting diseases, he noted. “Ayaw naman nating dumami pa ang casualties dito (We don’t want casualties to increase),” the President said.
For now, President Aquino said the Department of Public Works and Highways is coordinating with local government units to identify land for constructing bunkhouses that will serve as temporary shelters.
This is aside from clearing roads that are blocked by debris, a situation that hampers the transport of relief goods.
On the other hand, the Department of Health is assessing health risks, including the lack of clean drinking water, the President added.
Also, he said the DOH is on the lookout for cases of upper respiratory infections, diarrhea, and injuries that have to be treated right away.
The Department of Science and Technology is tracing the path of Yolanda to determine which areas may have been affected, so the concerned local officials can be contacted.
Meanwhile, the President said some LGUs that failed to prepare properly may have to explain especially since he is taking issue with any casualty.
He reminded LGUs that they are the first responders, with the national government coming in to replenish and to augment whatever the LGUs lack.
“They will have to explain. You have all the data needed. And as you know, any casualty is an issue with me,” the President said. (MNS)