Iloilo City, Iloilo — Typhoon Yolanda affected some 300,000 families or a total of 1.4 million families in Western Visayas based on the latest report released by the Western Visayas Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC).
Totally affected individuals stood at 1,415,74 even as 73,195 houses were totally damaged and 85,132 partially damaged. There were a total of 69,812 families or 335,315 persons who were evacuated to several evacuation centers. The RDRRMC also reported 43 casualties, 37 persons injured and 10 persons missing in the region.
Meanwhile victims of the super typhoon in Panay Island as well as the rest of the Western Visayas are crying out for much-needed relief goods.
This was particularly apparent as this reporter traveled by land to check the extent of devastation wrought by the super typhoon in parts of Iloilo and Capiz provinces.
Displaced residents, whose homes have been destroyed near the highway in rural towns, were begging for food and water.
Some of them said that they can do without electricity, but not food and water which they were in apparent dire need of. Some relief goods have reached some of the devastated areas here and have been distributed, but it not enough.
Relief efforts since Yolanda struck in the afternoon of November 8 has posed challenges to both government and non-government organizations.
Debris such as fallen trees and electric posts have been blocking major national highways in Panay Island.
While workers have cleared up some road debris, these continue to hinder the flow of trucks carrying relief goods to devastated areas.
For affected areas in coastal and mountainous villages, relief goods are flown via helicopters. However, helicopters can only accommodate so much cargo per trip and the turnaround is slow.
Brigadier General Arnold Quiapo, commander of the Philippine Army’s 301st Infantry Brigade (301 IB), said the relief operations in Panay Island is competing with the one in Tacloban City.
The AFP hierarchy has been pulling out helicopters in Panay Island to go to Tacloban City.
Aside from Capiz and northern Iloilo, also affected are northern parts of Aklan and Antique province as well as the northern parts of Negros Occidental province.