“The situation in Ormoc is almost overwhelming; to see a city utterly devastated in such a brutal manner really brings home scale of this disaster.We have been overwhelmed by the response of the Filipino people – they are staying strong, being passionate, taking action to rebuild their homes.” Ed Cox 14.11.2013
Ed Cox and Chris Cassar safely returned with their two colleagues from Balay Mindanaw from their “Rapid Assessment “ of the situation on Leyte Island. This type of visit is essential to identify need, liaise with local agencies & community leaders and to assess logistical options in order to ensure that any aid that does come through is affectively utilised.
The following is an extract of the more detailed reports on the Balay Mindanaw website.
- They met various representatives including local and national government, military, organisations and local leaders.
- Identified evacuation sites
- Identified urgent and long term requirements.
In Ormoc City (pop: 240,000) they found :
- Of the 110 barangays (villages), 29 were accessible within the city and 50 are accessible through motorbike. The rest are interior barangays still not accessible due to their location in highlands/mountain areas. The city has a total population of 240,000.
- All properties were damaged in some way and electricity was down.
- Offices, schools etc were closed and only two of the hospitals were able to accept patients.
- Urgent needs were food, water, shelter and medicines but generators, lighting and moving equipment will also be needed very soon.
- There was sufficient human resources on the ground to help if they had the equipment, advice and coordination to do so.
In Palo Fishing Village (pop: 62,000) they found:
- As described by a local Parish Priest, a “howling wilderness”
- Most buildings have collapsed and even the bigger ones (ie Churches) seriously damaged.
- All local hospitals are closed;
- Bodies are being collected in locations and beginning to decompose.
The team resumed their assessment within Ormoc City on the Wednesday where they:
- Met local organisations working on relief work (including Rotary)
- Identified the specific needs of two areas; Districts 26 & 29 and Barangay Can-adieng.
- Assessed the evacuation centres
In Districts 26 & 29 (pop 6000, households 1,500) they found:
- Most buildings had been totally damaged;
- Ration relief was in place but precarious with 1.8kg rice and 2 canned goods being provided to each household;
- Families were getting desperate as they do not feel confident that food aid will arrive soon.
In Barangay Can-adieng (pop 4,500 , households 560) they found:
- Similar situation to Districts 26 & 29 with similar levels of damage and with emergency food rations being issued.
At the Evacuation Centres (a school and a university) they found:
- There are about 8 families (typically 30 people) to each class room with only 1 toilet/100 families;
- Sanitation , food and health are major issues;
- Currently no camp managers assigned.
The Team completed their work and are now planning the next phase of the relief effort. The local organisations involved in the relief work have asked Balay Mindanaw to coordinate their work. Their major concern is the fact more than half of the 110 barangays are yet to receive any support.