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Glenda forces Yolanda tent dwellers to evacuate

MANILA, Philippines – Still living in tents, more than 1,000 survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in Tacloban City have returned to evacuation centers as of Tuesday, July 15, to flee the wrath of Typhoon Glenda (Rammasun).

In a statement, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said 1,096 individuals “who are currently living in tents in Barangays (Villages) 58, 88, 89, and 90 were evacuated to safer grounds.”

The Tacloban City government distributed hot meals to the evacuees.

The DSWD said it “will augment the city government's resources” with some 500 food packs, 500 blankets, and 2,500 bottles of water.

The national government, as of posting time, has not received reports on the number of evacuees in Eastern Samar, Samar, Biliran, and other parts of Leyte.

Humanitarian group Oxfam, for its part, reported a much higher numer of Tacloban evacuees – 574 families, or around 2,697 individuals based on the estimated family size of 4.7 in Eastern Visayas.

Oxfam said 308 of these families, or around 1,447 individuals, fled to the Tacloban Astrodome, which also served as an evacuation center when Yolanda struck 8 months ago.

Still 'traumatized'

EVACUATING AGAIN. Hundreds of Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors, who still live in tents, return to the Tacloban Astrodome as Glenda (Rammasun) is set to affect Tacloban City. Photo by Roy Lagarde/Rappler

EVACUATING AGAIN. Hundreds of Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors, who still live in tents, return to the Tacloban Astrodome as Glenda (Rammasun) is set to affect Tacloban City.

Photo by Roy Lagarde/Rappler

In an e-mail to media, Oxfam reported that as of Monday night, July 14, “strong winds and rain had already been causing panic for the already traumatized survivors living in the district of San Jose, and earlier, they were already evacuated.”

The northern part of Leyte province, which includes Tacloban, is under Storm Warning Signal No. 2 with winds of 61-100 km/h expected.

Barangay 89 council member Alejando Esperas, 43, told Oxfam that Yolanda survivors have grown “frustrated” because tents “are good only for 6 months,” and they've been staying there for 8 months.

Mahirap ang sitwasyon ng mga taong nakatira sa tents. 'Pag mainit, para kang nasa oven; 'pag umuulan, pinapasok ng tubig. At ngayong may bagyo uli, sobrang natatakot na sila. Na-trauma na sila dati, lalo na at nasa coastal area kami,” Esperas said. 

(It’s very difficult for people living in tents. When it’s hot, it’s like an oven inside; when it rains, water enters the tents. And now that there’s a typhoon again, they are terrified. They were already traumatized before, especially considering that we are in the coastal area.)

Oxfam called for safer evacuation centers as the Philippines' typhoon season is here.

“There’s clearly an urgency to make sure that all people are able to get into appropriate shelters that would allow them to live with their families in a dignified way, but also to carry out their livelihoods,” Oxfam country director Justin Morgan said. 

In April, estimates by the DSWD showed 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. – Rappler.com

Tell us what your LGU is doing to prepare for disasters, and stay alert with the latest weather and disaster information through Project Agos.

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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 pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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