Relief goods reach 38 out of 40 Leyte towns

Pia Ranada
Though relief operations are making slow progress, many more mouths are left to feed on a daily basis

DESPERATE FOR RELIEF. Looting was reported in typhoon-hit Tacloban City after delays in the delivery of relief goods by the national government. EPA file photo by Edwin Malasig

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Thirty-eight out of 40 Leyte towns have been supplied with relief goods as of November 16, 11 am, according to Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II. 

The two remaining municipalities in Leyte which have so far not received relief goods will be reached today, he added. The relief goods are being transported by personnel from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Philippine National Police using trucks and helicopters from Tacloban and Ormoc, cities being used as relief operation hubs. (Editor’s note: We earlier reported that the goods reached Tacloban, not the towns of Leyte. Our apologies.)

One of the provinces worst hit by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), Leyte has so far tallied 3,017 casualties according to the latest update by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). The storm, said to be the strongest to make landfall, wiped out all but the sturdiest of houses leaving thousands homeless. (READ: Tacloban Diary: I saw death, I fear anarchy)

Many now live in evacuation centers, dependent on a steady flow of relief goods for their daily basic needs. 

A total of 122,833 food and rice packs; 8,100 liters of water; 11,000 units of high energy biscuits for children and elderly have been distributed to the towns, according to an 11 am Saturday, November 16 field bulletin report by Presidental Spokesperson Abigail Valte. The distribution is being carried out by 80 Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) personnel with the help of barangay officials and councilors. 

To ensure that all affected towns are provided relief goods daily, government teams established a delivery schedule assigning towns to specific rounds of relief operations.


Medical personnel deployed by the Department of Health (DOH) have also been conducting vaccination missions to safeguard typhoon victims from measles, typhoid and other communicable diseases that could spread fast in crowded places like evacuation centers. Six DOH employees are also making rounds of health assessment operations in affected communities.

A total of 14 hospitals are now operational in all of Leyte, with 7 of these in Tacloban.

There are a total of 20 teams of local and national responders and 31 international humanitarian groups conducting operations and missions in Leyte. An emergency humanitarian radio system is speeding up efforts. Called the First Response Radio (FRR), it was set up by a foreign network of radio technicians to provide updated information on relief operations. It broadcasts on 98.7 MHz FM.

As for the persistent problem of corpses still rotting in open air, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas instructed operation teams and the Navy to collect cadavers floating at sea. 392 corpses have been buried, as of latest count Saturday, November 16. (READ: The stench of death in Tacloban)

Yolanda affected 44 provinces in the Visayas after making landfall in Eastern Samar on November 8. The most recent NDRRMC update pegs cost of damage at P9.46 billion. The death toll reached 3,633 as of 5 am, Saturday, November 16, and is expected to rise even if billions worth of aid have been pledged by the national government, international organizations and foreign countries. – Rappler.com


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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.