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More problems crop up — Roxas

Relief vehicles stall, run out  of fuel; supply lines blocked

A LACK of vehicles and gas remains a hurdle to the continuous delivery of food to the victims of typhoon “Yolanda,’’ Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II said Sunday, confirming a UN official’s observation that the number of trucks delivering aid was barely enough and that “logistical difficulties” were hampering relief efforts.

Situation less dire. President Aquino and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II meet with Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez and other local officials to discuss measures to speed up relief operations in the areas devastated by typhoon “Yolanda”.
Roxas said local officials from eight Leyte towns failed to pick up their daily supplies from relief hubs in Tacloban and Ormoc due to the lack of transportation.

“The local officials have been picking up their supplies regularly but they weren’t able to come back yesterday because some of them ran out of gasoline, while others experienced car trouble,” Roxas said.

Roxas said all 40 municipalities of Leyte were now interconnected, with all the roads cleared of debris. He added that officials from Hilongos and Palompon, the only Leyte towns previously unreached by relief, finally established contact with the government logistics hub in Ormoc on Saturday, and started bringing food packs and other relief items to their communities.

Still, road conditions are such that it’s taking two days or longer for trucks with relief packs from Manila to arrive at the hard-hit areas of the central Philippines, said Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, who is overseeing aid preparations in Manila.

“We have supplies already, our challenge is trucking,” Purisima said.

Journalists traveling to isolated barangays also continued to report that government aid had not reached everyone.

President Benigno Aquino III has set a target of 1.1 million relief packs for the Manila hub every week, for some 275,000 families affected by typhoon Yolanda.

Survivors of Yolanda stand in line to receive drinking water in Palo, Leyte. Malacañang Photo Bureau with AFP
Although every town in Leyte can now be reached, more had to be done, Roxas acknowledged.

“This is just the start, and we know it’s not enough,” he said. “But we are sure that the relief will be getting to them regularly now because the main supply routes of our ‘conveyor belt of food’ are open.”

Tacloban and Ormoc serve as hubs for typhoon relief, serving 24 and 16 towns, respectively.

The affected municipalities of Eastern Samar will get their food supply from the logistics hub set up at the airport in Guiuan.

In Capiz, the Roxas City hub hands out food packs and other relief items to 16 towns.

“Our teams in the distribution hubs are working 24/7. The repacking of relief packages goes on through the night, and distribution is carried out from morning until the afternoon,” Roxas said.

Relatives of a typhoon victim carry her body to a grave in Palo, Leyte.
On Saturday, a total of 114,438 food packs from Tacloban and Ormoc hubs were distributed either by helicopter drop or by truck.

The volume of relief packs delivered rose from 15,447 on Thursday to 45,162 on Friday, Roxas said.

Each food pack includes six kilos of rice, six canned goods (three sardines and three corned beef), eight instant noodle packs, and eight sachets of coffee. Each food pack for a family of five will last two to three days.

Roxas said the government and volunteer workers were working hard to speed up the delivery of relief.

At Culasi Port, truckloads of relief from government officials and private donors arrived for Yolanda survivors in Northern Panay Island.

A group of doctors from the UST Faculty of Medicine was on board the ro-ro ships that brought relief packs to Roxas City.

A typhoon survivor roasts a pig in Tacloban
Hamburgers and other relief from Jollibee was distributed to evacuation centers of Pontevedra, Panay, Pilar and Culasi. San Miguel Corp. gave 50 boxes of water, 143 boxes of assorted canned goods and coffee.

A total of 30 generator sets from Department of Energy were also distributed to various hospitals and police stations in Capiz and Iloilo.

As the military sent dozens more trucks to the region with emergency supplies and food, a two-kilometer line of vehicles formed toward Matnog port.

Doctors from Medecins Sans Frontieres began treating patients in some storm-hit locations, the group said in a Nov. 15 statement on its website. Apart from treating the injured, the group is handling a growing number of people suffering from pneumonia and diarrhea, the group said.

A worker rings a church bell in Guiuan town in Eastern Samar to invite people to attend Sunday mass at the 400-year-old Immaculate Conception Church; Palo Archbishop John Bu (right), retired Archbishop of Washington Theodor McCarrick (second left), and former Palo Archbishop Jose Palma (left) conduct Sunday Mass at the destroyed Cathedral in Palo, Leyte
The USS George Washington, an aircraft carrier with more than 5,000 personnel and more than 80 aircraft, arrived in the Philippines and began ferrying aid into hard-hit areas. A UK C-17 transport plane with supplies arrived Sunday, with the HMS Illustrious, another aircraft carrier, due to arrive on Nov. 25. The USNS Mercy, a hospital ship based in San Diego, is on standby to travel to the Philippines, should the government request more help.

An Australian team treating survivors at Tacloban airport was setting up a deployable 50-bed field hospital able to treat 4,000 people.

The number of trucks delivering aid to affected areas is “barely enough” even as roads have been cleared of debris, Luiza Carvalho, Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator of the UN in the Philippines said in an e-mail. “There are still logistical difficulties to overcome,” she said.

Foreign governments have been increasing their pledges as the scope of the destruction becomes more clear. The UK committed an additional 30 million pounds ($48 million) to the relief effort Saturday, bringing its total pledge to 50 million pounds. With Francisco Tuyay and  Bloomberg



 

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