8 airports reopen as CAAP assesses damage


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CAAP says 8 airports have resumed operations, while 5 remain closed including Tacloban's which was badly hit by super typhoon Yolanda

BADLY DAMAGED. What remains of the Tacloban city airport in Leyte after typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan pummeled the city. Photo by EPA/Francis Malasig

MANILA, Philippines – The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) announced Saturday, November 9 that 8 airports have been reopened, while 4, including the one in Tacloban, which was badly hit by super typhoon Yolanda, would remain closed.

CAAP director general William K. Hotchkiss III said that airports in Iloilo, Caticlan, Romblon, Dumaguete, Bacolod, Masbate, Legaspi and Surigao have resumed normal operations.

The Roxas City airport would be closed till Sunday, November 10, while the Kalibo airport is expected to be operational by Monday, November 11.

The Tacloban and Busuanga airports would remain closed until further notice due to severe damage from super typhoon Yolanda (international codename Haiyan).

The two airports were badly hit. CAAP deputy director general Capt. John Andrews said the terminal, tower, and communications equipment of the Tacloban airport were all destroyed, according to an airport manager’s assessment.

A report by CAAP area manager Efren Nagrama to Hotchkiss said there were no casualties at the airport but communication options were limited due to lack of power.

The report added that his team, made up of 25 CAAP, aviation security, and airport personnel in Tacloban had been clearing the runway since 5 am.

Ground personnel reported seeing around 100 dead bodies near Tacloban airport. Another 100 were found injured and were requesting medical assistance.

Hotchkiss directed Andrews to fly to Tacloban to lead a team bringing needed supplies, food, medicine and a set of communication equipment. Bayantel volunteered to install satellite communications equipment at the airport. Hotchkiss and his team will arrive Sunday to assess the situation.

Yolanda made a total of 6 landfalls when it slammed into the Philippines Friday. It left the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Saturday afternoon.

In a text message to Rappler, Transportation secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said relief operations for Tacloban are being carried out through the use of C130. “Government is currently conducting relief operations by air through C130,” he said. – Rappler.com

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