MANILA, Philippines – A total of 5,632 people are dead and 1,759 are missing due to Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) as of 6:00 am, Saturday, November 30, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
The numbers have slightly risen compared to Wednesday, November 27, when the death count was at 5,500, with some 1,757 missing. (READ: NDRRMC: Yolanda death toll now at 5,500).
About 26,136 persons were also injured and nearly 1.17 million houses are totally or partially damaged, according the NDRRMC’s recent status and operations update. The number of affected families is estimated at 2.34 million, equivalent to nearly 11 million persons.
Reconstruction for partially damaged houses
During a briefing on relief operations also on Saturday, the NDRRMC through Executive Director and Undersecretary Eduardo del Rosario said that around 240,000 partially damaged houses will be the initial focus of the government’s post-Yolanda rehabilitation efforts.
The government’s response to areas affected by Yolanda is now concentrated on shelter provision, livelihood and agriculture, Del Rosario said.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in coordination with the local government, will ship galvanized sheets and other repair tools to Region VIII starting Sunday, December 1. Shelter tools will be distributed through a pilot system that will be tested in 3 selected barangays.
Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has begun constructing bunkhouses for homeless families currently taking shelter in tents. It is targeting around 650 bunkhouses for an estimated 6,000 families. A bunkhouse takes a week to build.
“We are also looking for locations where they can resettle,” Del Rosario added.
Total rehabilitation is expected to take 3-5 years, depending on the performance of support projects, according to the NDRRMC official. (READ: Fast facts: The NDRRMC)
Distribution system for shelter tools
During initial distribution, each family with a partially damaged house will receive 24 pieces of galvanized sheets, a hammer, saw and nails, to help repair their homes.
“Makikita po natin na pag binigyan natin ang isang pamilya, mayroon silang kapasidad na i-repair ang bubong nila at maprotektahan sila sa init at ulan sa darating na araw,” Del Rosario said.
(We will see that when we provide these to a family, they can have the capacity to repair their roof and to protect themselves from the heat and rain in the coming days.)
House owners will be given cards to claim the materials from the distribution center. The official also said local officials are important for the distribution system, “because the barangay captain and officials can attest kung siya talaga ang legitimate owner ng bahay na iyon (if he/she is really the legitimate owner of that house).”
Efforts for shelter reconstruction and rehabilitation will begin in Tacloban City, but these will eventually spread to all other affected areas once the impact of the system on the ground has been assessed, del Rosario said.
Meanwhile, he also reported that Manila-based hospitals like St. Luke’s medical center are conducting free medical services.
Plans for post-typhoon rehabilitation
Meanwhile, President Benigno Aquino III and the Cabinet had already discussed plans for post-Yolanda rehabilitation and reconstruction, particularly in identified priority areas, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said in a radio interview Saturday with Radyo ng Bayan (dzRB).
The first-priority zone covers areas that were within the 50-kilometer zone from the eye of the typhoon when it hit the Visayas. These include 84 municipalities in Region VI and 63 municipalities in Region VIII. All 171 municipalities cover 4,971 barangays with an estimated population of 6.6 million.
The Department of Science and Technology will be assessing actual needs on the ground, Coloma said. So far, the critical needs for rehabilitation and reconstruction in these priority areas are housing and resettlement; reconstruction of public infrastructure and government services, restoring agriculture and fisheries and rehabilitating livelihood and empoyment.
The budget for government response to critical needs was raised from P38.8 billion to P40.9 billion, part of which will be used to address these needs, Coloma said. – Rappler.com