Capiz: Slow, difficult move to rehabilitation stage
ROXAS CITY, Philippines – Three weeks after super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit the Philippines, authorities in Capiz are slowing moving towards the rehabilitation of damaged areas.
“As we move into this phase, our most urgent need now is shelter—especially now that it is starting to rain,” said Esperidion Pelaez, action officer in the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC).
According to estimates provided by the Department of Social Welfare (DSWD), as of 28 November, there are a total of 496,303 totally and partially destroyed homes in the province of Panay. Typhoon Yolanda made its fifth landfall over Concepcion, Iloilo severely damaging the north and northeastern part of Panay Island before it made its sixth and final landfall over Busuanga, Palawan.
Figures provided by local authorities indicate 215 people dead and more than 2.8 million people affected or displaced. (READ: Upland Capiz hospital struggles to treat Yolanda patients)
DSWD is looking into providing a subsidy of P5,000 for families whose homes have been partially damaged and P10,000 for families whose homes have been totally damaged.
The DSWD also confirmed that families affected by Yolanda and are beneficiaries of the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program will be exempted from meeting the perquisites before receiving their benefits.
“We are not going to increase the number of people on the CCT program,” clarified Mary Ann Masculino, DSWD field officer for Iloilo. “We are still looking at the same people who were identified and targeted for this [CCT] program based on the DSWD 2009 survey. We are, however, waiving the conditions they previously needed to meet in order to get their cash benefits.”
No electricity, still
Restoring the power back in the province is also another major issue that needs to be addressed. In the capital of Roxas City, only 20% of the power has been restored and even less in the province of Capiz.
“Yolanda toppled more than 1,000 electrical posts and before we can start putting up those posts, the roads have to be cleared of debris and fallen trees,” Colonel Rommel Pagayon of the Philippine Army Disaster Relief Task Force.
The PDRRMC reported that less than 10% of power has been restored in Capiz. Only the municipality of Panitan has electricity because it is the location of an electrical cooperative.
Hard to reach areas
As response efforts move from relief to rehabilitation, other areas remain underserved mainly because terrain and road conditions make access difficult.
While 80% of the affected population have received relief goods, there are 14 municipalities that reportedly have not been given relief goods. (READ: Capiz folks walk 20 hours to get food aid)
“These areas are mostly the upland and or mountainous communities that are accessible only by foot and a 2-3 hour trek. The terrain makes it difficult to land a chopper,” said Pagayon.
Assessments and the viability of an air drop are being made with PA base camps nearest to these areas and the various air force groups to determine if goods can be air dropped at the base and then transported by foot.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is in charge of tracking and monitoring the various relief efforts of the different international and local agencies and civil defense groups who form part of the Task Force Yolanda for Panay.
From the Command Post set up at the Capiz Provincial Capital building, the OCHA reported that in parts of Aklan, Antique and Ilolilo, there are no partner activities (a term used to describe initiatives by local and international agencies to provide relief and or support) in place.
“These are areas with sizable populations and we hope that they can be looked into for assistance,” said Fernando Arroyo, head of office for UN OCHA Panay.
As of 28 November, an estimated 439.25 tons of relief goods have been transported to the various villages in the province of Panay. – Rappler.com