Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that relief operations for victims of Typhoon Yolanda is moving at a faster pace with roads and thoroughfares already open and passable.
Secretary Soliman flew to Ormoc City today from Tacloban City to lead in relief distribution.
The Secretary said that aside from distribution in the areas, they will also do food drops in the Eastern and Western coasts.
To facilitate orderly distribution of relief goods, DSWD has set up repacking and storage hubs for relief items in Tacloban, Guiuan and Ormoc.
As of November 12, some 60,607 food packs have been delivered of which 16,344 went to Guiuan hub for victims from Eastern Samar while 44,263 were for the hub in Tacloban.
Likewise, DSWD will start delivering today the 40,000 metric tons of High Energy Biscuits from World Food Programme
Two water filtration plants are operational with a capacity of 6,000 liters per hour.
So far, about 15,000 gallon or 60,000 liters have been processed and already distributed by eight tanks of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).
Around 35,505 water bottles of 500 ml each, 35,210 one-liter bottles, and 168 of 5-gallon containers were also distributed in Tacloban City.
Repacking of 45,000 sacks of rice donated by the World Food Programme is ongoing at the warehouse of the National Food Authority (NFA). These will be distributed to families in Tacloban and Guiuan.
The target for the Tacloban hub is to repack 15,000-20,000 family food packs per day with the help of some 120 volunteers. The volunteers will be given food-for-work comprising three kilograms of rice per four hours of work.
Around 5,000 tents from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are also expected to be arriving today.
About 100 tons of relief goods will also be shipped by three C130 of Taiwan Airforce.
A Philam Life truck loaded with 100 sacks of food packs is also on its way to the city.
Seven Philpost trucks carrying 488 sacks or 4,880 food packs are on their way to Basey, Samar.
Some 1,400 food packs are also loaded to MV Kapitan Felix Oca for delivery to Tacloban.
The United State of America has committed to lend four C130 flights and choppers for transportation of goods from Manila to Tacloban and Ormoc.
An initial 800 sacks of relief are already positioned to be to be flown by the US C130.
Other repacking centers
Repacking of relief goods continues at the DSWD-National Resource Operations Center (NROC) in Pasay City as well as in DSWD Field Offices in Cebu, Legazpi City and Butuan City. Ateneo de Manila University has also opened its compound for repacking.
These repacking centers, along with those additional centers being arranged to be established in the upcoming days, target to produce 146,000 packs.
Volunteers may call these offices for shifting schedule.
Filling the gap
Secretary Soliman who initially stayed in Tacloban for four days was an eyewitness to the devastation and chaos in the city.
“Most of the employees from the local government units have not reported back to work because they are still looking for their loved ones or they are still in shock,” Secretary Soliman said.
“We had to fill in the gap first because the first responders were also victims. Local officials also suffered the same fate,” she added.
“The looting,” she feels, “is a form of coping.”
“I think the people got shocked and are angry with the situation so they took out their anger and frustration on negative behavior,” the Secretary continued.
“Everyone is a victim so patience is stretched and I have to be aware of the words I use and facial expression because it can be very sensitive,” she said.
One her way to Ormoc, the Secretary had time to reflect.
She shares, “Thoughts are running through my mind – What is the outside world saying? Are they criticizing again our effort?”
But despite the “chaotic situation” and “almost anarchy” in the area, she remains hopeful upon “seeing the beautiful mountains and silver river ways dotted by clusters of nipa hut unaffected by Yolanda’s fury.”
“It is not easy and it can be disheartening but the FILO Team – (DILG) Secretary Mar (Roxas), (DND) Secretary Voltaire (Gazmin) and me – support each other. FILO is ‘first-in, last-out.’”# # #