Cebu ready to accommodate Yolanda survivors

Bea Cupin

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The provincial and city governments have begun identifying areas that can be used as evacuation centers for those displaced from other provinces

EXODUS. Typhoon victims queue to board a US military cargo aircraft in Tacloban City. Photo by Rappler/Jake Verzosa

MANILA, Philippines – The province of Cebu and its capital, Cebu City, are preparing for the influx of evacuees from surrounding areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan).

Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council officer Neil Sanchez told Rappler on Thursday, November 14, that the city and provincial governments have discussed possible areas where they can set up tents to accommodate those displaced by the super typhoon not just from other parts of the province but from other provinces as well.

“We have our own problems here but we can’t ignore the pleas of our neighbors,” said Sanchez. (READ: Where will survivors go?)

Survivors in the Leyte capital of Tacloban have been “jostling and begging” for space on flights that leave the demolished city, as tensions rise with the lack of aid and relief.

According to Lt Jim Alagao, spokesperson of the Armed Forces Central Command, around 6,000 persons from the cities of Tacloban and Ormoc in Leyte, and from the town of Guiuan in Eastern Samar, have gone to Cebu on their C-130 and ships.

The United Nations, like the provincial government, estimates over 10,000 died in the province alone, mostly in the capital city of Tacloban, where 16-foot-high storm surges engulfed the city and neighboring towns.

President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday, however, said the estimate was too high and pegged the death toll at around 2,500, a figure supported by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Towns in the northern part of Cebu were also destroyed by the storm. Sta Fe, Madridejos, and Bantayan in Bantayan Island, and the towns of Bogo, Medellin, and Daanbantayan were cut off in the aftermath of the storm.

Relief was initially unable to reach Bantayan Island because of strong waves, but Sanchez said relief goods, generator sets, and clearing teams have since reached the island. Cellphone signal has also been restored in the island, but remains unstable.

About 90% of Bantayan was destroyed by Yolanda, said Sanchez. As of posting, the provincial government tallied 18 deaths in Bantayan town, 4 in Madridejos, and 5 in Sta Fe, said Sanchez.

All local government units are functioning, said Sanchez.

Once the situation in the province’s towns have stabilized, Cebu will be sending a team to assist relief and rehabilitation efforts in the provinces of Samar and Leyte, he added. – with a report from Carmela Fonbuena/

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.