#YolandaPH: 800,000 evacuated

Miriam Grace A. Go
Eastern Visayas, predicted to be hardest hit by the cyclone, reports the fewest persons brought to safety

MOVING OUT. With belongings in tow, a family braves the rains brought by Yolanda (Haiyan) in Cebu City. AFP file photo

MANILA, Philippines – Nearly 800,000 individuals have been evacuated due to super Typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan), the 5th major global storm to make landfall in the Philippines in recent years.

Ironically, an update from the national disaster management agency Saturday morning, November 9, shows that the region expected to be hardest hit by the cyclone – Eastern Visayas – had the least number of provinces that reported preventive evacuation, and thus the fewest persons brought to safety.

More than half of the individuals evacuated before Yolanda’s onslaught were in Albay, the Bicol province whose disaster preparedness program has been acknowledged internationally.

Collating reports from the regional offices of the Office of Civil Defense, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said that as of 6 am Saturday, 161,973 families – or 792,018 persons – were being housed in 812 evacuation centers across 9 regions.

The NDRRMC latest bulletin on people displaced by Yolanda contained details from 38 cities, 215 municipalities, and 37 provinces in the following regions:

  • Calabarzon
  • Mimaropa
  • Bicol
  • Western Visayas
  • Central Visayas
  • Eastern Visayas
  • Northern Mindanao
  • Davao Region
  • Caraga

Visayas, nearby regions shut down

Updates have been hard to come by since then. Power and communication lines have been cut off in the Visayas and nearby regions. Even Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, who had gone to Tacloban on Thursday, could no longer be reached as of Friday noon.

This is also the reason that the number of deaths confirmed has been much smaller than widely believed.

In Eastern Visayas, only Eastern Samar and Leyte were reported to have done preventive evacuation, moving out a total of 865 families or 3,613 individuals.

Yolanda made its first landfall in Guiuan town in Eastern Samar at 4:40 am Friday, the second one in Tolosa, Leyte. (READ: Yolanda goes ‘island hopping,’ makes 5 landfalls)

There were no reports from Biliran, Samar, Northern Samar, and Southern Leyte.

In Central Visayas, 26,527 families or 121,890 persons were evacuated. More than half of them – 15,271 families or 71,040 persons – were in Cebu, where Yolanda made its 3rd and 4th landfalls in Cebu province, in Daang Bantayan and Bantayan Island, respectively.

The figures represented all provinces in the region: Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor.

In Western Visayas, where Yolanda hit land the 5th time in Concepcion town, 10,527 families or 49,059 persons were evacuated. They are in Capiz, Aklan, Iloilo, Guimaras, and Negros Occidental. There was no report from Antique.

The NDRRMC reported only 21,539 individuals evacuated in Negros Occidental, but Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr said Friday afternoon that more than 50,000 had been evacuated in his province.

In Iloilo, the NDRRMC reported 8,109 evacuees, more than double the 3,000 reported by local authorities as of Friday evening.

Luzon, Mindanao move people out

In Calabarzon, 1,332 families or 6,047 persons were evacuated in the 5 provinces in the region.

In Mimaropa, a total of 4,214 families or 19,873 persons were evacuated in all 5 provinces: Mindoro Occidental, Mindoro Oriental, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan.

Yolanda made its 6th and last landfall in Palawan – where 34 families or 140 persons were evacuated – before it was expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility Saturday afternoon, November 9.

The Bicol region, which is along the country’s typhoon path, accounted for more than half of the total evacuees in the 9 regions: 98,770 families or 500,890 persons.

They are mostly from Albay province, where preventive evacuation is a policy every time a typhoon is expected: 94,749 families or 481,278.

The latest NDRRMC report shows only 60 families or 230 individuals evacuated in Masbate. According to reports from local authorities as of Friday, however, at least 3,099 families had been evacuated in the province.

Of the 6 provinces in Bicol, only Camarines Norte was not included in the NDRRMC report.

In Northern Mindanao, 13,363 families or 61,757 people are now in 144 evacuation centers in its 5 provinces.

The 805 families or 3,852 persons initially evacuated in provinces of Compostella Valley and Davao Oriental, both in Davao Region, have returned to their homes.

In Caraga – identified by government scientists as the most landslide-prone among the affected provinces – 5,570 families or 25,032 persons had been evacuated in the region’s 5 provinces as of Saturday morning. – 

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Miriam Grace A. Go

MIriam Grace A Go’s areas of interest are local governance, campaigns and elections, and anything Japanese.