The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Palawan described super typhoon Yolanda in Busuanga in 2013 as an eye-opener on the importance of efforts on disaster risk reduction.
Commenting on the 8th year commemoration over nine most affected provinces, PRC former field operations head Pive Flor “Bing” Tabique underscored the need for a climate change adaptation plan and contingency plan.
Yolanda with an international name Haiyan hit the country on November 8, 2013 and greatly affected the provinces of Palawan, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Cebu, Iloilo, Leyte, Eastern Samar, and Western Samar.
“We also provided training on DRR and first aid which is very significant because this is an eye-opener for the local government that they need to invest. For now, they have the local climate change adaptation plan— they have a contingency plan which is they use when it comes to disaster,” she said.
“That’s one thing, I think is very significant in the preparation and the lessons learned from the typhoon Yolanda. Because this disaster became an eye-opener to those local government also,” she added.
The PRC conducted the webinar to look back on the experiences and learning gained in responding to large-scale emergencies and disasters as what has been experienced from Yolanda in 2013.
Based on the report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) in 2013, the total affected population in the country from regions IVA, IVB, V, VI, VII, VIII, X, XI, and XIII is 16, 078, 181. A total of 6, 300 individuals were reported dead, 28, 688 injured, and 1,062 remained missing.
Tabique remembered in 2013 that logistics has been a “huge problem” from the relief and recovery operations and delivering PRC service. The team struggled as boats and trucks were mostly damaged.
Yolanda had six landfalls on November 8, 2013, wherein the last landfall hit Busuanga before it traversed towards the West Philippine Sea.
The PRC worked with the Tagbanua tribe which is mostly affected by Yolanda. To help the community to bounce back again through livelihood, the PRC provided 55 fiberglass boats to locals of the island. Around 623 shelters were built and 748 livelihood supports were provided for the community of Coron and Busuanga.
“It is very challenging for us,” Tabique recalled.
The PRC management also mentioned during the virtual commemoration that it is eyeing to establish a PRC branch in Coron, which is part of the island town of the province.
“Because the distance coming from Palawan chapter ay masyadong malayo, what is the lesson learned of the PRC is to establish a branch in Coron, to address the needs of our people in the Calamianes especially the IP community which is most vulnerable people in the Calamian,” she said.
PRC after Yolanda
Elizabeth Zavalla, secretary-general, said that PRC continued building the assets eight years ago as Yolanda hit the country.
“We continue building our assets kasi nga ang aming mantra, volunteers plus logistics plus information technology. So doon sa part ng logistics, nagko-continue kami ng equipping para ‘yong caravan at saka ‘yong preposition ng equipment ay nagagawa,” she said.