MANILA, Philippines – More than 7,300 survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) fled to evacuation centers due to Typhoon Glenda (Rammasun), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said Wednesday, July 16.
In a statement, the DSWD said the 7,318 evacuees came from 39 barangays (villages) in 9 towns and 2 cities.
The evacuees from the Yolanda-affected areas make up around 2% of the 338,413 who fled to evacuation centers across the country, based on initial estimates by the DSWD.
In Tacloban City alone, 1,000 to 2,600 Yolanda tent dwellers evacuated due to Glenda.
More than 1,000 of them stayed in the Tacloban Astrodome, which also served as an evacuation center when Yolanda struck. Humanitarian group Oxfam said many of these evacuees remain “traumatized.”
'Don't go back to tents'
Social Welfare Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Soliman advised evacuees not to return to the their tents.
“The tendency is to go back to where they came from, but we're trying to convince them not to go back to tents,” Soliman told Rappler.
When asked where the government intends to house the tent dwellers, Soliman said, “Well, in the meantime, in the astrodome, because that is the safer place.”
She said this piece of advice, however, “has to be negotiated” with Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez.
The Cabinet official said the main problem involves the lack of land for resettlement, and she hopes this is resolved “this week.”
“Kasi nakikita nila na 'pag hindi nila ni-resolve, that's going to be a bigger problem. Kasi hindi hihinto ang ulan (Because they can see that if it's not resolved, that's going to be a bigger problem. Because the rain won't stop),” Soliman said.
In April, estimates by the DSWD showed that up to 130,000 Yolanda survivors still lived in tents. The government earlier said it lacked land for settlement, but Rehabilitation Secretary Panfilo Lacson said in June that the government is on its way to solve this problem. – with reports from Bea Cupin/Rappler.com
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Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.