Radio contact center set up in Tacloban

Carmela Fonbuena
The command post is set up by the Army's 8th Infantry Division based in nearby Catbalogan City in Samar

HUMANITARIAN AID: Two military C-130 cargo planes fly to Tacloban City on Saturday. File photo

MANILA, Philippines — An incident command post and radio contact center was set up in storm-battered Tacloban City, more than 24 hours since the city went incommunicado following storm surges that flooded its streets.

The Army set up the command post at the city police station. Military radios served as the government’s contact to Leyte when Typhoon Yolanda’s strong winds cut communication lines on Friday morning, November 8. (READ: Yolanda weakens)

The command post is led by Brigadier General Jet Velarmino, commanding general of the Army’s 8th infantry division that is based in Catbalogan, Western Samar.

Communication has proven to be a huge challenge for disaster management officials. Even Interior and Local Government Secretary and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin — who arrived in Leyte province Thursday, November 7 to oversee government response to Typhoon Yolanda — could not be reached until Friday night. (READ: Communications down, Mar cannot be reached)

The two Cabinet officials are now in the command post in Tacloban, according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). 

Two Philippine Air Force (PAF) C-130 cargo planes flew to Tacloban City Saturday morning to bring in power generators, AFP communication equipment, water purifiers, and other relief goods to aid typhoon victims. (READ: UN, gov’t send communications teams to Tacloban)

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council executive director Undersecretary Eduardo Del Rosario, Secretary of Social Welfare and Development Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, and PAF Commanding General Lieutenant Genearl Lauro Catalino Dela Cruz were among the passengers of the cargo planes. – 

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