Palace: Tacloban is now accessible

Survivors stay in their damaged house on Sunday after super typhoon Yolanda battered Tacloban City. Photo by Romeo Ranoco, Reuters
By Ira Pedrasa, ABS-CBN

MANILA — Tacloban City is now accessible, according to Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras, adding that the peace and order situation there is already under control.

“Tacloban is now accessible from the north via the San Juanico Bridge,” Almendras said in a press conference in Roxas City on Sunday aftermoon.

He also said there is no need to airlift goods and other services needed in the relief operations of the Yolanda-devastated city.

“The situation in Tacloban is difficult, the more resources [that will come in], the better,” he said, noting that what people need as soon as possible are food and tents.

Almendras also reported that the lawlessness that happened in Tacloban in the aftermath of Yolanda is “already under control,” noting that the government has moved police forces even from the National Capital Region to the area.

The local government of Tacloban earlier urged President Benigno Aquino III to declare martial law in the area because of widespread looting.

Government employees can’t also report to work because they have become victims themselves to the storm surges.

Malacanang said the Philippine National Police led by Director General Alan Purisima has entered the area to control the situation.

Casualties

Amid all these, Malacanang said it could not yet account for the number of deaths after the super typhoon wreaked havoc in the area, adding that it has yet to confirm the estimated 10,000 people killed in the central Philippines since “the [National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council] is still accounting for the missing.”

Almendras explained that the first order is to reach out and administer to the needs of the survivors, noting that Iloilo and Cebu have become logistics centers for Tacloban and Ormoc.

He also said the Department of Social Welfare and Development is seeking volunteers there for repacking of goods.

Meanwhile, Roxas City has become a “forward command center” for purposes of rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations.

Almenmdras vowed that help is on its way to Samar, which has also been battered by Yolanda.

“Northern Samar is not as adversely affected. It’s the southeast portion that is adversely affected. Borongan is okay also. It’s from Borongan down to Guiuan where we’re presently trying to operate,” he said.

More news on ABS-CBN.

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