Relief centers in Ormoc, Catbalogan

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Government says it doesn't want to rely on Tacloban City alone as the hub for relief goods and equipment

BLOCKED. A street in Ormoc, Leyte after the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda. Photo by Cleariza Gavito/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The government has set up two major relief hubs in Eastern Visayas to facilitate the inflow of goods and equipment: Ormoc in Leyte and Catbalogan in Samar.

Secretary to the Cabinet Rene Almendras said in a briefing on Wednesday, November 13, that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DWSD) has set up its center in Ormoc, because this is accessible via Cebu.

For now only Cebu’s international airport in Mactan is the airport nearest the calamity areas that can accommodate airplanes from other countries that are bigger than C130s, Almendras said.

The Department of Public Works and Highways has set up Catbalogan City in Samar (formerly Western Samar) as the hub for the entry of heavy equipment needed to clear and repair roads, Almendras said at the National Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

“The heavy equipment that is being volunteered…would be brought to Catbalogan,” Almendras explained. Then government officials will dispatch these to targeted areas, he added.

Catbalogan is also the headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ 8th infantry division, which commands military troops for all of Eastern Visayas.

Roads to Eastern Samar, in particular to heavily damaged towns such as Guiuwan and Hernani, are now open. But fuel supply is a problem. (Read: Eastern Samar accessible via bus)

Almendras said the government does not want to rely on Tacloban City alone as the center of relief goods and equipment. –

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