Metro Manila · Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) *UPDATE*

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+++ Update Saturday, 8 November 2014 +++

Recovery and rehabilitation efforts are still ongoing in areas devastated by super typhoon Yolanda that hit the Philippines on November 8, 2013. Here is an update on what has been done and what still needs to be done one year after the disaster.

+++ Update Saturday, 8 November 2014 +++

In an interview with Wall Street Journal, Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez said that they have bounced back close to 60 percent. A lot of people are still unemployed. A considerable number, especially those from neighboring towns, are still living in tents and bunkhouses. Romualdez aims to provide decent homes to the victims in the next three months. A few indications of life returning to the city include the small shops and popular fast food chain McDonald's that have started to continue with business as usual. 

Late October, President Aquino approved the Yolanda Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan with a budget of over P167 billion. The amount will be distributed in projects that include infrastructure, social services, resettlement and livelihood. 

Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II targets a 93 percent completion of the recovery and rehabilitation projects in affected areas by December. P4 billion are budgeted to fund the reconstruction of public markets, civic centers and municipal halls in 171 affected cities and municipalities.

Some 12,000 classrooms still need to be repaired or reconstructed. The Education Department is continuously identifying schools in unsafe zones so that they can be relocated. The DPWH has so far repaired 700 classrooms. 

The official list of casualties recorded by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) says that 6,201 died, 27,665 were injured, and 1061 went missing.

The Philippine government has put up the Foreign Aid Transparency Hub (FAITH) to give access to the foreign embassies of 64 countries and seven multilateral organizations, allowing them to input or update the amount, or kind, of assistance pledged by their country. It says that the foreign aid pledged amounted to PHP 73,307,438,834.36 (1,643,038,277.66 USD); the total cash pledged was PHP 45,109,273,248.49 (1,011,033,311.26 USD), and total non-cash pledges was PHP 28,198,165,585.87 (632,004,966.40 USD). The foreign aid received amounted to PHP 17,248,509,769.51 (386,590,532.07 USD). Total cash received by the government was PHP 1,195,208,079.14 (26,788,176.68 USD). The total non-cash received by the government was PHP 1,269,787,369.01 (28,459,720.94 USD). The total amount received by NGOS, multilaterals and others was PHP 14,760,938,010.40 (330,836,632.01 USD). 

Both government websites do not indicate the last time the above figures were updated. Nor do they have information on the allocation or distribution of the donation, whether cash or non-cash.

+++ Update Wednesday, 5 February 2014 +++

On January 31 and February 1, 2014, the tropical storm Basyang hit areas in Southern Leyte and in Cebu that had already been affected by Typhoon Yolanda almost three months ago. Yolanda survivors in Tacloban and other places had to relocate from tent cities and improvised shelters to evacuation centers in schools and churches. Fortunately Basyang only caused limited damage. In the meantime, reconstruction is ongoing, as well as discussions on the right strategies.

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+++ Update Wednesday, 29 January 2014 +++

Supply of water and power is still limited in many districts. The Restoring of phone networks is also ongoing. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that the need for food aid might extend until the next rice planting season in May, especially in remote areas where some farmers still have not received help.

More and more people move from evacuation centers to bunkhouses or build new houses out of uprooted trees. Efforts to rebuild the economy are also made, with new boats for fishermen, rehabilitation of farmland, and other measures. Discussions have started whether Tacloban should be rebuilt or if a new location for a regional economic hub makes more sense, given the risk of future calamities.

In January, hundreds of people protested in places like Iloilo, Roxas City, and Metro Manila, and thousands protested in Tacloban City. The demand more and immediate assistance and transparency in the release of foreign aid. Yolanda survivors started organizing in associations such as the "Alliance of Typhoon Yolanda Victims" and "People Surge". They also criticize surveys according to which a huge majority of typhoon victims and non-victims is content with the relief efforts.

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+++ Update Sunday, 5 January 2014 +++

Almost two months after typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines, the affected areas are slowly taking steps back to everyday life. Efforts are made to resume classes and to put people back into work.

The Yolanda death toll of the the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council stands at 6,166 on January 4, with 1,785 individuals still missing.
Many people in Tacloban and other places had to spend Christmas in tents and other temporary shelters, celebrating in the dark, as power supply is still not fully restored in many areas. On New Year's Eve, an award-winning pyrotechnics firm displayed a 15-minutes firework in Tacloban.
Some 275,000 vulnerable families will be supported with relief goods by the Department of Labor and Employment until the end of March. Vulnerable families are those with breadwinners unable to engage in livelihood as well as those with pregnant mothers, senior citizens and persons with disabilities. For non-vulnerable families, cash-for-work programs are on the way. The government also provides capital for displaced workers who decide to become entrepreneurs.
14.6 billion unspent pork barrel funds will be reallocated for relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts.
Schools in Yolanda-hit areas are supposed to reopen on January 6. The Department of Education cooperated with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), which set up tents to accommodate students.

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+++ UPDATE Sunday, 15 December 2013 +++

More than a month after Typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines, limited water and food supply, power outages and cellular network outages are still a problem in several provinces and municipalities. While relief missions are ongoing, efforts to reconstruct infrastructure and to restore everyday life in the affected areas are made as well.

Operations at Tacloban Airport are still limited, but almost all other affected airports are fully operational again. As in most parts of the Philippines, people are now observing the Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo, a series of dawn masses in preparation for Christmas - even in villages and towns where the churches have been destroyed. Typhoon victims in Central Visayas are being trained in carpentry, masonry, plumbing, electrification and other skills for the reconstruction of houses. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources urges NGOs and private individuals to help in the acquisition of 10,000 boats for typhoon-affected fishermen. On December 10, Canadian pop star Justin Bieber held a mini concert for the people in Tacloban City.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, 6,057 persons have been reported dead as of December 15, most of them from Eastern Visayay, in particular Leyte Province. 1,179 are still missing. A total of 16 million has been affected by the typhoon, with almost 4 million people being displaced, of which 100,000 are still in evacuation centers.

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+++ UPDATE Sunday, 1 December 2013 +++

According to latest calculations by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), typhoon Yolanda has caused damage of more than 30 billion pesos (685 million US$, 505 million €), roughly half of it in infrastructure, the other half in agriculture. The death toll is still rising, with now 5,600 people confirmed dead. 26,000 people have been injured and 1,760 people still missing.

Some provinces and municipalities still experience power outages and/or insufficient water supply. Airport operations in Tacloban and other cities are still limited. The rebuilding of the devastated areas in Eastern Visayas will take up to five years and cost more than 2 billion US dollars, officials said on Saturday.

A total of 35,121 personnel, 1,351 vehicles, 112 sea crafts, 164 aircrafts and 28,431 other assets/ equipment from national, local and foreign agencies, responders and volunteer groups/organizations were prepositioned and deployed, as the NDRRMC states.

For transparency purposes, the Philippine government provides an overview over foreign aid pledged and received by country. The total foreign aid received sums up to 532 million pesos (12 million US$), with 18 billion pesos (414 million US$) pledged. Rappler.com independently gathers information on donations and aid by the international community as well.

Yolanda survivors in Manila held a thanksgiving march on Sunday from the tent city in Villamor Airbase to Luneta, to express their gratitude for the countries and organizations who support them.

As of now, 3,8 million people are depending on relief operations. The delivery of goods to remote areas and islands is still insufficient, some municipalities have not received any relief at all. Among the reasons are that vehicles sometimes spend days in line waiting to embark on ferries, road conditions are poor, and/or the terrain makes it difficult for choppers to land in those areas. But heated discussions are also ongoing about poor disaster management on the local and national level.

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+++ UPDATE Sunday, 24 November 2013 +++

The official death toll two weeks after typhoon Yolanda has reached more than 5,200 people, with another 1,600 persons still missing and 23,500 people injured. The number of damaged houses increased to 1,130,000, roughly half of which are totally damaged.

A total of 34,115 personnel, 1,324 vehicles, 109 sea crafts, 162 aircrafts and 27,685 other assets/equipment from national, local and foreign agencies, responders and volunteer groups/organizations were prepositioned and deployed to various strategic areas, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Some provinces and municipalities still experience power outages and insufficient water supply. Survivors in the city of Tacloban complained that there is still no steady supply of relief goods. After visiting the disaster zones, UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said that much more needs to be done, with food, clean water and shelter being the top priorities. She is particularly concerned that some 1,5 million children are at risk of acute malnutrition, and 800,000 pregnant and nursing mothers need nutritional help.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Yolanda survivors, mostly those without relatives in Metro Manila, were transferred from a tent city in Villamor Airbase, Pasay City, to Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. A total of about 10,000 individuals have arrived at Villamor Airbase since November 16, according to a statement by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)on Thursday. Many of them came only with the clothes they were wearing. The DSWD and volunteers are taking care of their food supply and medical treatment.

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+++ UPDATE Sunday, 17 November 2013 +++

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council publishes daily updates on the effects of Typhoon Yolanda and on ongoing rescue and relief operations. As of November 17, it estimates the total damage caused by Typhoon Yolanda at more than 10 billion pesos, 9 billion of which is damage in agriculture and more than 1 billion pesos in infrastructure. The official death toll is at 3,681. Water supply in Leyte is sufficient now, but some municipalities in other provinces still do not have water supply. Some provinces keep experiencing power outages, and phone networks still have not been restored in many places. The Google Person Finder helps searching for missing people in affected areas.

A total of 119 million pesos worth of relief assistance was provided to affected families by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWC), other government agencies, and NGOs. A total of 22,730 personnel, 1,285 vehicles, 77 sea crafts, 110 aircraft and 27,237 other assets/equipments were deployed to strategic areas. Foreign aid from all over the world reached the country in the last couple of days, including 23 foreign medical teams.

All over Metro Manila, volunteers keep showing up 24/7 in relief packing stations set up by the DSWC, Red Cross, and other organizations to help fill bags with rice, sardines, water, medicine, and other basic needs. Here is a list of Relief Operation Centers and Donation Drop Off Points. The Department of Social Welfare and Development is also calling for volunteers with vehicles to drive Yolanda survivors from Villamore Airbase to their families in other parts of the Megacity. Interested individuals may contact Glenda Derla of the DSWD National Capital Region at 0906 468 0287.

The Aquino administration faces harsh criticism about slow relief work and disaster management.

+++ UPDATE Sunday, 10 November 2013, 10:00 PM +++

Two days after super typhoon Yolanda came over the Philippines, the situation is desperate in Tacloban City and many other affected areas. The supply with food and drinking water is still insufficient in many places, and people looted shops and aid convoys. The towns of Giporlos and Guiuan in Eastern Samar, where the typhoon hit land the first time, are in total ruins, according to eye witnesses. Online magazine Rappler.com has compiled a list of relief operations centers, phone numbers and websites of organizations which accept donations for the victims and/or which are looking for volunteer helpers.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) now estimates that 9.5 million people were affected by the storm, with 450,000 individuals still staying in evacuation centers. DSWD has so far sent out 10.6 million worth of relief assistance. People still try to get news from friends and relatives via Facebook and other mediums. Globe Telecom and Smart Communications announced that their mobile signals are up again in Tacloban. 

+++ UPDATE Sunday, 10 November 2013, 1:00 PM +++

The government of Leyte fears that the death toll in the province might raise over 10,000. At least 200 people have died in Eastern Samar. The estimated damage caused by typhoon Yolanda amounts to more than 7 billion pesos so far. Thousands of houses were completely destroyed. A UN Disaster and Assessment Coordination Team arrived in Tacloban on Saturday. President Aquino came to the city on Sunday morning to oversee disaster operations. Communication lines are still cut off in many areas. Some airports in affected areas are open again. International aid from various countries is currently being organized.

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+++ UPDATE Saturday, 9 November 2013, 8:00 PM +++

Pagasa has announced at 7 pm that alls thunderstorm advisories are now terminated. No damages or casualties were reported for Metro Manila.

Around 945,000 families (more than 4 million individuals) have been identified by the Department of Social Welfare as being affected by typhoon Yolanda. Many people still cannot contact friends and relatives, as phone networks are still not or hardly working in many affected areas. The death toll is still at around 100. Tacloban in the province of Leyte was among the worst hit areas, as large parts of the city were flooded. Commercial shipping lines and airlines have offered to help transport goods and personnel for rescue and relief missions. TV station GMA Networks has set up a database for missing person inquiries.

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+++ UPDATE Saturday, 9 November 2013, 12:00 noon +++

Typhoon Yolanda is supposed to leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility this afternoon. As of now, Storm Warning Signal No. 1 is still up only in Northern Palawan and Puerto Princesa City. Classes resumed in several schools in Metro Manila.

Over 100 people have been killed by super typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban, Leyte Island. The airport of the western Visayan city has also been completely destroyed. Rescue and relief missions are ongoing. Mobile communications in the affected areas have been spotty or non-existent since the storm hit, so exact information about damages and casualties is trickling in slowly.

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+++ UPDATE Friday, 8 November 2013, 23:45 PM +++

Typhoon Yolanda has caused severe and widespread damage in parts of the Philippines. More than 250,00 people in Calabarzon, MIMAROPA, Bicol region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao and Caraga are currently housed in evacuation centers, as the Philippine Inquirer reports. As of now, three people are reported dead. According to conservative estimates, 3 to 4 million people were directly affected by the storm. Many parts of the Visayas and one province in Luzon suffered power outages. President Aquino released 365 million pesos for search and rescue missions, ordered the removal of trees and debris from blocked streets, and a speedy distribution of relief supplies.

While slightly weakening, super typhoon Yolanda is now moving west towards Vietnam. It is expected to leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility late Saturday morning. Signal No. 4 is still up in Extreme Northern Palawan, the Calamian Group of Islands, Southern Occidental Mindoro, Southern Oriental Mindoro, Aklan, Capiz, Antique, Iloilo, and Guimaras. In the meantime, Metro Manila stayed under signal No. 1 and was hardly affected by the storm, except for some rain and moderate wind in the evening. Typhoon Yolanda was Friday's top story for media outlets all over the world.

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Manila is not exactly in the path of super typhoon Yolanda (international name: 'Haiyan'), but it is nonetheless expected to be affected by bad weather conditions. Schools have been suspended in parts of the Megacity. We will keep you updated about the situation in Manila.

Parts of the Visayas were the first areas to be affected by Yolanda. Here you can see what to expect when a typhoon hits land. People started preparing days ahead to keep damages at a minimum: they fix roofs and secure windows, buy a stock of primary goods, and move to a safer place if necessary. The government often has to order forced evacuations in coastal regions and other vulnerable areas. More than 125,000 people were moved to evacuation centers, such as school premises, to take shelter from Yolanda. Most flights and ferry rides got canceled and thousands of people are stranded at ports and airports.

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The victory of Philippine boxing legend Manny Pacquiao on Sunday has been widely greeted as an uplifting win for the whole country, and a much-needed break after weeks of bad news following Typhoon Yolanda.