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news | November 14, 2013 | Philippines | Emergency

Philippines: ACTED teams’ first account

© REUTERS/Charlie Saceda

The Haiyan typhoon in the Philippines has affected more than 11 million people in the country, destroying 95% of homes in the affected areas. Humanitarian access remains difficult, but ACTED teams have managed to gain access to Tacloban, the hardest hit city in the country, where the humanitarian priorities are the most pressing. Toma, ACTED’s team leader, gives a firsthand account on the ground.

TACLOBAN [ACTED News] - During the three hour drive from Ormoc to Tacloban, from the West to the East of Leyte island, the most hardly hit by typhoon Haiyan on 8th November, we witness the level of destruction: all villages are affected, electricity poles were knocked down and there is no electricity.

The crops along the road are also entirely destroyed; the primary local source of revenue is now nonexistent. The road itself has been partially cleared, and our teams even spotted people putting their rice out to dry in front of their house.

© REUTERS/Erik De Castro In Alang Alang city, the market is partially opened and the city has visibly been very affected. The city also houses the government rice warehouse, allegedly looted in the previous days. From visual observations, it is this team’s initial assessment that the warehouse does not show signs of looting: people are sitting outside “guarding” piles of rice, organized in an orderly manner, and probably waiting for transportation to carry them away. The police is on the ground and manning a checkpoint. As such, it is highly probable that the government may have let people in to take rice as opposed to the warehouse being pillaged, a frequent occurrence to food convoys and stocks in this crisis period.

The poverty of most areas is visible in that most roofs and other house structures have been taken away. Therefore, shelter repair kits / tarpaulin sheets and shelters are greatly needed, beyond the immediate food and water needs.

ACTED teams are collecting information on the scale of the disaster, and wish to focus their attention on providing shelter. We should receive 2,000 tents and 4,000 non-food item kits in Cebu this weekend, in preparation of an upcoming distribution in the coming days.

ACTED evaluation figures in Tacloban as of 13/11/2013

Population: 235,000
Number of Barangays (community level administrative division): 138
Number of households: 45,000
Families affected: 82,289 (411,445 people)
Evacuation centers: 26
Pop affected in centers: 11,262 households (56,210 people)
Injured: 3,000
Missing: 194
Dead: 2,000
Food assistance: relief goods released 47,745
Number of Barangays served: 68

Read the initial information on the typhoon and our call for mobilisation