#ReliefPH and #YolandaPH: What’s going on, what you can do (Nov.7-15)

Note: This entry covers November 7-15. For updates for November 16 onwards, please click this link.


The photos and videos and stories from #YolandaPH affected areas –in particular the storm surge that devastated Tacloban City– reminds me of the gut-wrenching devastation we saw in Japan during President Aquino’s visit in 2011. See Typhoon Haiyan: Before and after photos in ABC News (Australia).


You can explore the DSWD Disaster Mitigation and Response Situation Map. The Bureau of Mines and Geosciences has a Geological Database with Hazard Maps.

For continuing updates and information, bookmark the Typhoon Yolanda page of the Official Gazette. It includes the Google Crisis Map in cooperation with Google, volunteers, and PCDSPO. We’ve reformatted the page to more efficiently categorize and sort updates and resources.

Official government reports on the effects of the typhoon are released on a regular basis by the National Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). Relief updates are also regularly released by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

A State of National Calamity has been declared as of November 11, 2013. See this briefer on the State of Calamity to see what this means.

The official casualty list is updated as data comes in.

Want to donate to help with #ReliefPH? See Donate to Yolanda relief effort – information. You can also view a Matrix of Foreign Assistance and where it’s going.


November 15, 2013

Last night, the President mentioned he intends to proceed to Tacloban on Saturday. Here are the point persons assigned by the President:


At present Sec. Gazmin is heading efforts of the NDRRMC, ground supervision is by Sec. Roxas in Tacloban, where Sec. Soliman is overseeing the distribution of relief; in Manila, Sec. Abaya is coordinating all transport (air, land sea) arrangements; Sec. Baldos is central hub for offers of donations from the private sector for equipment, funds, goods; the supervision of packing efforts in the expanded hubs for relief packing is under Sec. Purisima.


First consolidated report for the day: See NDRRMC Situation Report on the effects of the typhoon Yolanda, November 15, 2013 (6:00 a.m.)

See Relief effort reaches typhoon-ravaged areas via supply routes. Here’s a map:


Note that checkpoints have been set up along these routes to ensure security. Those mounting relief convoys should try to avoid the highly-congested Matnog, Bicol to Allen, Sorsogon route.

See: DOH implements price freeze on essential medicines. Also, Emergency procurement gets go signal for Yolanda aid. This may also be useful: Customs Advisory: On duty exemption of imported donated relief goods and equipment.

Today, you can view Summary of the Deputy Presidential Spokesperson’s Press Briefing on the continuing Yolanda relief ops, November 15, 2013. Reports are also coming in from the field. They will be consolidated and reported as Field Bulletins. See Field Bulletin No. 1: On relief operations in Yolanda-affected areas. See Field Bulletin No. 2 on Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

A touching Op-Ed piece by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency: In its time of need, repaying a debt to the Philippines.

Finally, a must-read posted in Time Magazine: see Stop Catastrophizing Relief Efforts in the Philippines by John Crowley:

When I talked with colleagues on the ground and friends who have worked in the Philippines, it became clear that these reports do not reflect the Philippines they know or the situation they are confronting. Worse, these reports are amplifying the problem. Here’s why:

After a disaster, there will always be delays in the delivery of aid. While planes and helicopters can arrive in 24-48 hours after the storm clears, massive deliveries can only arrive by ship, which can take several days to sail—longer if they have to sail around a massive storm. Worse, damaged ports may take weeks to fix. With severe damage like that in Tacloban, roads may be impassible for many days or weeks, making distribution of aid difficult.

For many families digging out from the storm, this delay is too long. Any stockpiles of food and water will have been washed away or shared. Having lost everything, most lack the resources to do more than subsist for a short while. Some might forage in damaged buildings. Most communities will pool resources and help each other survive.

When television crews race large cargo ships with airplanes and helicopters, the cameras will always win. Journalists will report on the gap between supply and demand. They will show the faces of people in need of western largesse. They will turn isolated incidents of foraging and removal of goods from a truck or warehouse into a report on rampant looting.

Here is where the reports go very wrong. According to a friend who has worked in Haiti and the Philippines, “what happens when media talk up security issues is that aid agencies get worried about security of distributions, so they hold off until they have adequate security support. The velocity of distribution is dramatically slowed down. Scare mongering undermines the relief effort.” This dynamic happened in Haiti, and it’s happening here.

The people of the Philippines face a multitude of disasters every year: earthquakes, tsunami, cyclones, floods, landslides, and volcanic eruptions. The whole nation—government ministries, private sector companies, the diaspora, and civil society organizations–has learned a great deal about how to respond to a typhoon.

Ministries regularly pre-position supplies and train disaster response across all levels of government. To ensure alignment with international agencies, legislators have integrated UN cluster coordination measures into national law. The private sector also plays an active role. After Typhoon Bopha, it built more than 75% of shelters. Civil society groups are among the most active in the world and have global reach: one in ten Filipinos live abroad, and they are sending money back home at staggering rates (pre-disaster, over 8.5% of national GDP came from remittances).

What is different with Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) is the unexpected level of storm surge and flooding, combined with sustained winds that exceeded 196 mph (315 km/hr) with gusts far higher. The government is struggling to reach communities hit by one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall. Like the families I met in Staten Island after Super Storm Sandy, it seems that the water came in so fast that there was not time to flee, and the surge swelled well beyond what any city could survive. Six Filipinos broadcasters risked their lives to keep Aksyon Radyo Tacloban DYVL running in Tacloban so that their listeners would know what was happening with the storm. Water filled the radio station in 10 seconds. Only one of their bodies has been found.

When journalists focus on looting and slow aid delivery, they miss the point. Information is aid. Their reports are part of weaving the fabric of a global Filipino community back together after a typhoon tore through their hometowns. By showing communities coming together, journalists can amplify the dynamics that save lives.

November 14, 2013

Final update came in at 10PM last night, see NDRRMC Situation Report on the effects of the typhoon Yolanda, November 13, 2013 (10:00 p.m.). Thisd was followed by the first update for today: see NDRRMC situation report on the effects of the Typhoon Yolanda, November 14, 2013 (6:00 a.m.) and Status of relief and rehabilitation efforts for typhoon Yolanda as of November 14, 2013 (12:00 p.m.). See also NDRRMC Situation Report on the effects of Typhoon YOLANDA, November 14, 2013 (6:00 p.m.).

Last night, the Secretary of Social Welfare and Development explained the processes and progress of relief efforts: see Transcript of the interview of the Secretary of Social Welfare and Development on gov’t actions in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda. See Photos: Members of the AFP and civilians load relief goods for Yolanda-affected areas.

See also Transcript of the CNN interview with Secretary Roxas on November 14, 2013 this morning: it’s well worth reading in full.

The #YolandaPH of the Official Gazette has been reorganized (by the end of the day we hope to have the Casualties List fully searcheable; we are also preparing a comprehensive list of updates organized according to locality, if possible, up to the barangay level). You can now view updates per category, namely:

Food & Water



Donations and Foreign Aid





Additional updates today: Interagency One-Stop-Shop for donated relief goods fully operational. In the NROC alone, as of 4PM today there had been a total of 2,176 volunteers producing 48,000 food packs. For additional information, see DSWD to repack 2 million food packs in 2 weeks.

AFP: Update on water search and retrieval ops and distribution of goods. See also photos of relief operations in Tacloban. Also, DOE to deploy generators to Yolanda-hit areas.

This evening, the President visited the relief goods repacking centers. At 7PM this was released: Status of relief and rehabilitation efforts for typhoon Yolanda as of November 14, 2013 (7:00 p.m.)

I understand that Radyo ng Bayan is setting up an emergency radio station so that radio broadcasts of advisories, etc. can take place in Tacloban; MARINA, for its part, is finding RoRo vessels to augment the shipping capacity of relief efforts.

Please share these infographics: How to make drinking water safeMga habkbang upang gawing ligtas ang tubig inumin.

November 13, 2013

The first update for today is NDRRMC Situation Report on the effects of the Typhoon Yolanda, November 13, 2013 (7:00 a.m.). See also (updated) DSWD update on relief efforts in Eastern Samar, Leyte, and Tacloban City, November 12, 2013 (4:00 p.m.).

This morning, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. and Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras gave a briefing to the media at NDRRMC. Sec. Almendras also had a briefing with the Malacañan Press Corps at lunchtime. See Summary of the Press Briefing of Secretaries Almendras, Ochoa, and NDRRMC on relief operations for Typhoon Yolanda, November 13, 2013.

The Commission on Higher Education issued CHED Order on November 13, 2013 suspending the operations of colleges and universities in Region VIII.

See also Consolidated report on government actions on typhoon Yolanda, November 13, 2013 (12:00 p.m.). Updates concern 7 areas of concern/activity: Food & Water, Infrastructure & Transportation, Power, Communication, Security & Order, Foreign Aid.

The President issued a statement in the evening to express appreciation for the 28 nations and many organizations and individuals helping with relief efforts. In a related note, the Department of Foreign Affairs clarified the process followed for foreign assistance:

As of 2:00 pm today, the number of international donors monitored by the DFA has risen to thirty-six (36) and the value of international assistance has been estimated at Php 3,848,564,500 or USD 89,501,500. Again, this figure accounts only for cash donation pledges and in-kind donations to which monetary valuation had been assigned by the donors.

Let me clarify that most of the international assistance, either in monetary form or in-kind donations, does not go through the Philippine government. The DFA, as the first point of contact for the international community, is notified of pledges of international assistance. The DFA will then pass on the information to the NDRRMC and other agencies involved in relief and rehabilitation efforts.

So far, except for Indonesia, all international donors that have pledged monetary donations are coursing the money through their aid agencies, or through NGOs, charitable institutions and foundations of their choice. The Vatican, for instance, is sending its donation to local churches and these churches will be distributing the aid to the people. Some donors are distributing relief goods directly to the affected communities while others turned the items over to NDRRMC and DSWD repacking stations. Other donors are also deploying their own medical and search-and-rescue teams in hard-hit areas.

Furthermore, a pledge of financial support is subject to the rules and processes of the donating government or agency. Therefore, it takes time for the actual funds to be released to the recipients. As for reports that adequate aid is yet to reach those in need, the DFA wishes to assure the public that it is doing everything it can to properly and promptly coordinate offers of international assistance with the agencies engaged in aid delivery.

The President also ordered the release of year-end bonuses for government workers: please see President Aquino orders early release of year-end bonuses for government workers.

See also Interview with Secretary Ricky Carandang on ANC (November 13, 2013) from last night:

We have a group here in the Disaster Coordinating Council which is normally headed by Volt Gazmin, and Mar Roxas, and Dinky Soliman. Those three, by the way, have been here since before the typhoon hit. And they are the ones regularly pooling with the local government officials, with the local police and they are trying to get these numbers of the dead and they are trying to make sure that dead bodies are given proper disposal for hygienic purposes and making sure that the distribution of goods goes smoothly. So it’s really what I can see on the ground is Mar Roxas, Dinky Soliman and Volt Gazmin who have been here on the ground. Upon of course the instruction and consultation with President Aquino himself…

Well every day, about four o’clock, the group here meets with the Cabinet secretaries, and local government officials, and the police and that’s where they go over the reports. People are free to come here and reports are submitted. The problem here Tony, is really, many of the people who are missing, some of whom I guess we can presume to have died, we haven’t been able to identify all of the bodies.

So it’s going to be very difficult at the end of the day to come up with the exact number of fatalities here given that some bodies have already been lost, some have been buried already, some have decomposed. So the number of missing and the number of dead will remain sort of uncertain for quite some time…

…When the typhoon hit and immediately after when people didn’t know what to do. A lot of our first responders, the locals, local police, local authorities also died. They lost family in the storm. And so, perhaps, they had a hard time responding right away.

We’re into Day 5, Day 6 of this, and a lot of the augmentation of the police and military has helped restore a lot of the order. And the distribution of goods, as you can see, is improving and it’s getting out there. Everyday, more and more goods are distributed. So I think, far from panic, I think what happened is things are actually…they’re still…don’t get me wrong. They’re not normal. They’re still certainly, still desperate. But I think, the sense of panic that perhaps people felt in Day 1 and Day 2, has eased somewhat because of all the efforts of the local communities, and the national government, and the international aid agencies…

I think people should go where they can be assured of regular food and shelter. There are people here in Tacloban who have resources and actually a lot of people from the local community, not just Tacloban, but other parts of Leyte, have been actively pitching in to help their communities. So if you have means and you’re willing to help, then by all means, stay and help.

There are those, though, who perhaps might be better off temporarily relocating. It’s really an individual decision based on your own circumstances. I just want to say though that I’m very grateful, and I think most people from Leyte, are very grateful, for the people who are here, who could leave if they wanted to. They have their resources to stay for a while in Cebu, or Metro Manila, or even overseas with families, but they chose to stay here to volunteer to help other people who have been victimized by the storm. I think everybody in Leyte should be grateful to them…

…at this point, if anybody who’s living here who got hit by this immense tragedy wanted to leave, I don’t think we have any right to stop them. In fact, what the government is doing, as you know, we’re airlifting supplies into Leyte and into Samar. There are people who are able to catch on…because the flights are kind of empty of the way back. So, if a plane is going to Cebu for example, and people want to ride on it, people are riding on it. If people want to go back to Manila or to go to Manila, we allow them as much as the capacity permits to fly back when they need to. That’s really and individual decision and I don’t think we can blame people if they want to leave this place for a little while. It can be hard sometimes without electricity, without regular source of potable water in some places, and even cell signals, to be comfortable here. So if people want to leave, we are doing what we can to accommodate them. And again, if people want to stay and they are able to help, then we certainly thank them for that.

November 12, 2013

As of 12pm today, DSWD free satellite internet service already served 3,400 persons in Tacloban City. See AFP deployment to typhoon Yolanda stricken areas as of November 12, 2013 (1:00 p.m.).

From the Department of Budget and Management, see Funding for Yolanda relief and rehab:

As of end-October, the President’s Social Fund has a balance of P6.4 billion, while P16.6 billion in government savings are still available. We can readily tap these fund sources, in addition to the P1.08 billion in Quick Relief Funds (QRFs) that are now being mobilized to facilitate the delivery of immediate aid to all typhoon victims.

Furthermore, we also have P1.28 billion in Calamity Funds and another P824 million in Contingency Funds at our disposal.

Because we only have two more months before the year concludes, however, the more costly rehabilitation requirements will be largely addressed through the 2014 budget. By then, fresh budgetary support will be available to aid all efforts at repairing the damage wrought by Yolanda to the Visayas region. Nonetheless, the more urgent post-disaster requirements—such as the restoration of power, water, and other utilities in all affected communities, as well as the immediate provision of shelter, food, medical and rescue activities, and clearing operations—will be amply supported by available funds.

See also:

Q&A with the Secretary of Science and Technology on Typhoon Yolanda where he explains the circumstances that led to particularly intense destruction in Tacloban and other areas.

AFP sends troops, five more helicopters to Tacloban for humanitarian and disaster response ops

Peace and security efforts in Yolanda-struck areas

The President met with the Cabinet from  5 to 7:30 PM, with a short interval for a CNN interview at 6:40 PM and again from 8:35 to 9:15 PM.

Please see Consolidated report on government actions on typhoon Yolanda, November 12, 2013.

November 11, 2013

1. The PNP held a  Press Briefing on Typhoon Yolanda at 11:30 AM with Director-General Alan Purisima. Salient points:

Looting incidents :In areas in Tacloban, ang tinutugunan ng gobyerno ay pagkain at tubig. Dinadala ang lahat ng resources.

There are 883 police personnel deployed to different areas (639 in Tacloban; 66 in Ormoc; 58 in Capiz). Additional 120 officers were deployed from PRO-III.

As regard to the looting, we will assure you that by the end of the day we would be in full control of the area. We will flood Tacloban with policemen.

There’s looting because people are hungry. The prepared supplies were flooded and taken by the water.

Holding looters accountable: Syempre dapat hulihin yan [looters]. Kailangan muna i-restore ang lugar, pagkatapos nun, we identify people [who looted]. Makikita naman kung nandun sa bahay mo, kung meron kang ice cream refrigerator o LED television.

We encourage these people to return [looted items].

Urban planning: We now see that what we need to focus on is urban planning. If we don’t look at mapping in development, it will happen again.

Martial law option:PNP chief says typhoon victims need food, won’t support calls for martial law.

PNP chief is leaving with PNoy the decision to declare martial law in areas damaged by Yolanda

Police patrol:Meron na po tayong policemen na nagpa-patrolya.

Distribution instruction:Situational ang gagawin ng mga officials. Kung ano sa tingin nila ang nararapat.

PNP properties in quake-hit areas:Purisima says they are auditing PNP properties in Yolanda damaged areas.

We are in the process of auditing police station and accounting personnel na maaring naging biktima rin. Ang pinaka-dahilan ay pagkagutom. Kailangan i-address natin ito immediately.

On reports of 10,000 casualties: PNP chief- no confirmation yet, we must rely on actual body count. We don’t rely on anecdotal or perception reports in reporting the number of casualties.

2. Press Briefing of Presidential Spokesperson Sec. Lacierda and Cabinet Sec. Almendras, 12:20 PM. Salient points:

Cabinet secretaries on the ground: Secretary to the Cabinet Rene Almendras: We have 4,5,6 Cabinet secretaries working on the ground.

The President immediately instructed me to go to NDRRMC and find out how to better coordinate with other agencies and distribute relief efforts.

Command and logistics centers: Almendras: We set up 2 command centers in Tacloban and Roxas City. All agencies and AFP are working on these foreign operations centers.

Cebu has been designated as logistics center for East Visayas operations while Ilolilo will be the logistics center for West Visayas operations.

How bad is the situation? The numbers are beginning to come out. Yes, the situation is bad. Fortunately, there were survivors that were found.

On President Aquino allegedly blaming local officials: Almendras: Kailangan liwanagin. Wala ako sa Tacloban meeting dahil nagpaiwan po ako sa airport dahil meron akong ayusin with the mayor of Tacloban. Nung natapos kami ni Mayor, kami naman ni General del Rosario ng Air Force ang nag-usap to fix something.

There are so many operational details and humps that have to be worked out. We have to be as efficient as possible. Every pound of C-130 capacity is critical.

What I know is the President is very critical on how to move forward. “Wag niyo na ikwento sa akin kung ano ang ginawa niyo. We are pressed for time. We need to respond. We need to move. Mas gusto kong sabihin ninyo kung ano ang dapat gawin at paano ito gagawin.”

Coordination of national and local government: Almendras: As far as blaming the local government, I don’t think that’s an accurate description. Hirap na hirap po ang national government to penetrate the local government. Kapag ang local government and national government maganda ang coordination, mabilis ang pagtulong.

Mas mabuti na alam po natin ilang tao ang nasa lugar na ito at alam natin kung ilang relief goods ang ipapadala doon. Importante po itong local knowledge nito.

The truth of the matter is ang daming bigas doon sa Tacloban ang problema is how to move it around to the places needed. Importante na meron po kaming katuwang, may makakasabi sa amin saan dadalhin yung tulong.

Delivery of relief goods / immediate needs of Tacloban City:  Almendras: Unang problema sa Tacloban is how to get there. Ngayon na nabuksan na natin yung San Juanico Bridge, dire-diretso na po ang biyahe. The fastest way to go Tacloban is by land from Luzon.

Kahapon may dumating na 140 tons of relief items at Iand 2 water filtration equipment.

I’m grateful, ang dami pong nagbigay ng bottled water. But as they landed, ubos, dahil ang daming may kailangan.

Medicine supplies: Almendras: Kahapon dumating na si Sec. Ona doon sa Tacloban, kasama ang kanyang team, at may mga dala na po silang medicine supplies at ibang items.

Fuel, gas needs: Almendras: As of 8 am, one gas station was already opened in Palo, Leyte. By this afternoon, there will be 2 gas stations and 1 temporary gas dispensing station opened in Tacloban.

Communication signal / generators for cellphone charging: Almendras: May Smart and Globe signal na po sa Tacloban. Ang problema ay walang charge sa mga cellphone nila. So we need generators. As we speak, the Comelec agreed to lend the generators noong election na hindi nagamit.

Bus companies’ aid: Almendras: Secretary Abaya is talking to bus companies to provide assistance to those who want to leave Tacloban. Commercial flights still can’t come into Tacloban

Attention to survivors in other areas: Almendras: I don’t want to talk about just Tacloban. Meron din pong Capiz, Leyte. There are other areas that have survivors that need attention.

From Iloilo, Antique, resources can be made available to Capiz. Clearing ongoing so delivery can be made. They are not forgotten.

Enough rice supply: Almendras: We were checking on the total rice inventory in NFA and there is enough, 3 million sacks of rice.

Sec. Dinky went to the  NFA warehouse and DSWD repacked the rice so it can be distributed.

Clearing operations is ongoing so we could deliver relief goods in Capiz. Not all generators will go to Tacloban. Some will go elsewhere.

Calls for the declaration of state of national calamity: It is important for local officials to declare it. A lot of the other cities, municipalities, provinces, as early as Saturday declared a state of calamity.

The minute they declare a state of emergency, that allows them to do more things. The national government responds to the state they are in.

On criticisms on relief operations / government preparedness: Almendras: Residents were telling me they were ready for the wind but not for the water [storm surge]. Siguro kapag naayos na tayo at natulungan na ang lahat ng dapat tulungan, pwede nating pag-usapan yan in the context of learning.

Tama kayo, hindi ngayon ang panahon para magsisihan, hindi ngayon ang panahon para  magbangayan. Suggestions, comments are very welcome. Pero napaka-unfair po yung criticisms sa mga tao who are there and trying to help.

Yesterday there was a mestizo with two sons, mukahng well-to-do, victims rin sila, approached me and asked me how they could help. Ganun po sana lahat ang attitude ng tao.

On estimate of areas already reached by gov’t: Almendras: I wish I can tell you na naabot na namin lahat. We are not ready to say na naabot na namin lahat. Hindi naman po siguro ganun kalaki (bilang ang area na di pa naaabot). Ang problema po ay remote locations.

On police augmentation: Almendras: [On 883 police personnel deployed to different areas] It is enough. I am confident that reason will prevail.

Based on our experience with Pablo and how the local communities responded effectively, there are things na pwedeng gawin habang hindi pa kami nakapasok: organize the barangays, puroks, ilista yung survivors, go around the barangay.

Sabi nga nila, dapat may Disaster Preparation 101. But we tried our best to warn everybody. Yun nga lang, overwhelming ang storm surge, it was something else.

My focus right now is to make sure that government officials and agencies are able to work together, even without the declaration of state of emergencies.

Either today or tomorrow, the Taiwanese government is sending [assistance].

On looting incidents: Almendras: Ang hindi lang po maganda ay yung looting na kasama po ang TV sets, pati drive-thru signage ng McDonald’s. It is very important to establish command and control during situations like this. That is what has been re-established in Tacloban.

On rebuilding efforts: Almendras: Can I be honest with you? I just finished the final write-up in Pablo rehabilitation, 10 months after it happened. You want to focus on the immediate needs. There will be a time for that.

Kung tatanungin niyo ako kung gaano kalaki, I think it’s going to be big, I really don’t know. Rescue, relief, ang objective. For the survivors, let’s provide.

Sa damage, let’s use the coconut as measure. Sa Pablo, walang coconut tree na natira. Pero dito, meron pa. Pero, even building structures cannot withstand the storm surge. Kaya pati airport, nasira.

Estimate on foreign aids received: Almendras: I’m not counting right now, Im just saying we are very grateful on the help they gave us.

Priority on relief items: Almendras: If you’re going to send construction materials, wag muna. We need resources, we need relief goods, food, medicine. We are grateful that Australia and New Zealand are giving us aid. Singapore will give us trauma equipment.

30-35 days needed before we can start rehabilitation. We want to focus on immediate needs first.

On reports that PH has received around 3 trillion pesos of foreign aid: Almendras: What we see is both cash, equipment and resources. Sorry, I have not kept track.

Funds for relief operations: Thank God there is new budget coming in for 2014 so hopefully we can get new funding from that.

There is still balance in the calamity fund and the quick response fund of agencies. This is where we are getting funds right now. We have enough funds and resources for immediate relief operations possibly for up to a month.

Don’t worry, we are open to be audited. We have been very deliberate. I assure you, we have been spending these funds judiciously. Masinop po ang ating Presidente.

Same level of priority for rescue and relief operations: Almendras: It’s not right that the relief operations are being given priority. While we are busy rescuing, retrieving, ayaw nating pabayaan ang buhay natin. Sabi nga ng Pangulo, malungkot kung naka-survive ka sa disaster tapos namatay ka naman dahil napabayaan. Hindi po pwedeng one is more important than the other.

The difference between an earthquake or storm surge or tsunami, iba po pala. Sabi ng residente, “Sir, wala pong medium sa nangyari sa amin, either buhay ka or patay ka.” Kasi tinatanong ko kung sa tingin niya may buhay pa. Ang sabi niya, sa tingin ko sa sitwasyon na ito walang middle ground. I was so affected when I heard that.

Number of missing: Almendras: Kunwari nakumpleto na yung lista ng mga buhay at patay, yung balanse po nun ay yung missing.

Airdropping of relief:  Almendras: Kapag nahanap po natin yung communities na kailangan ng relief magda-drop po tayo ng relief. Ginagawa po natin yan. SOP po yan. Tinanong ko sila kung may nakitang survivors. Lumipad sila highlands, pero ang nakita mga bangkay na lumulutang.

Kaya kayo I’m rushing fuel for the helicopters para tuloy-tuloy ang pag-drop.

System of relief distribution: Almendras: Yan po ang sinasabi ko sa mga local officials. Kung magtatayo ka ng relief line at pipila yung tao dun, eh kung masipag kang pumila, babalik-balik lang sya. It is important to organize distribution, it will make things more efficient.

On local officials’ lack of response: Almendras: I’m not saying that. Remember, ang mga ito ay naapektuhan rin. Ang mayor ng Tacloban ay sinasabing patay. Dahil the last time he was seen, he was holding on to a post outside his house. This is not the time to judge or criticize anyone. There is a need to organize ourselves well so we could reach everyone. We all need to work together. This is not to show that one is better than the other.

Flights to Tacloban: Almendras: Tacloban airport is already open for limited operations. Only 2 flights are allowed.

Distribution / packing of relief packs: Sec. Edwin Lacierda: DSWD has airlifted P180,000 worth of of food packs, another P8,358,000 worth of food packs are now on its way to Tacloban. We encourage more volunteers to help in repacking these goods.

We have two packing centers in NROC Manila and in Cebu City. We have a total of 3,726 volunteers. We encourage for more volunteers.

Arrival of German doctors: Lacierda: 25 German doctors just arrived from Hong Kong, they will assist in affected areas.

We thank all countries for their help, and Filipinos from all over world who have offered assistance.

Alleged price hike: Lacierda: I am not in the position to answer that. We have to ask DTI. This is the center of all the goods. There should be no reason for the center to be affected.

Reports that fatalities could reach to 10,000:  Lacierda: Ang official count for casualties is at a certain level. We hope di aabot ng ganun kalaki po. We will rely on our official count of the NDRRMC.

I cannot speculate on the number . We pray that it won’t be that big.

Yolanda as biggest storm encountered by this administration: Lacierda: We’re doing search, rescue and recovery. This is the biggest storm. As for extent, we still have to assess.

On reports of excess charging for ‘habal-habal’ transportation service: Lacierda: Yun po ay isa sa mga concerns na dapat i-address. We urge our fellow FIlipinos not to take advantage of the misery of other Filipinos. This is a time for all of us to band together.

Stand-by funds and food stock: Lacierda: May naka stand-by na supplies. Yung fund ay around, in terms of food with respect to different Regions ay P206-M.

State of emergency option, Martial law fears: Lacierda: Yung Martial law, hindi po sa amin nanggaling yun. It was a congressman who suggested that. Restore peace and order, yan po ang ginagawa ngayon.

Yung state of emergency, may requirements po yan. OG will post in gov.ph the consequences of declaring a state of emergency.

Accounting for aid spending: Lacierda: Yung mga alam namin na napupunta sa amin. Sa DSWD, we will definitely have an accounting for that. In so far as donations going to private entities, marami rin pong napupunta sa Philippine Red Cross, it is up to them to account for that.

Alleged walkout of the President: Lacierda: The President took a bathroom break. Asec. Marfil accounts hindi pa tumagal ng 10 minutes yun. The President was surprised. Just to clarify, he said, “teka lang, mag-break muna tayo.” There was no walkout. After 5 minutes, he came back. There was no walk-out, just to clarify.

See also:

AFP engineers, Special Forces head to Tacloban for humanitarian ops and disaster response

AFP Air and Naval asset movements for humanitarian and disaster response ops

AFP transports foreign, local medical units

NDRRMC report on actions taken by the government in the wake of typhoon Yolanda (November 11, 2013)

At 7PM the President addressed the nation to update the public on #RescuePH and #ReliefPH efforts and he announced Proclamation No. 682 s. 2013 declaring a State of National Calamity. Memorandum Circular No. 56 s. 2013 was also issued.

The President explained the circumstances that led to the following being among the most hard-hit areas:


He also pointed out the logistical hubs that have been set up:


(Above not inclusive of National ResourceOperations Center of DSWD in Manila). See government appeals section below for more information.

The President mentioned 22 nations have thus far offered assistance to the Philippines (see section on foreign governments below).  Watch the Presidential Spokesperson on CNN on activities of the government.

November 10, 2013

See the NDRRMC data report per province as of November 10, 2013. The President went early in the morning to visit Roxas City, Tacloban City and other affected areas. Radio TV Malacañang uploaded video of the President’s arrival at Tacloban (including aeral footage of the devastated city), and the President’s briefing in Roxas City.

Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras held a Press Briefing Roxas City, here are the salient points:

PNP forces now in Tacloban:

The devastation in Tacloban is significant. I know there are reports of looting and there have been lawless elements. They are now under control. We have moved police forces, even from the NCR, they are now in Tacloban to establish the peace and order situation.

Needed resources:

What the people in Tacloban today is food and other non-food resources. We need tents, we need shelters, we need anything that can be used as shelters. We need cooking utensils and everything else.

Relief delivery by land:

Good news is San Juanico Bridge is open. So you don’t need to ship or airlift relief goods to Tacloban. I’m appealing to telcos and other service providers, you can now move in easily to Tacloban by land.

DSWD’s call for volunteers:

The government is using Cebu as logistic center to support Tacloban and the other devastated communities. DSWD is appealing for volunteers to help in the repacking efforts in Cebu. Cebu is the closest logistics center we have to Tacloban so we need to augment repacking efforts there. There are people who agreed to ship the goods from Cebu to Tacloban via commercial boats.

Power and communication equipment:

Two military C-130 cargo planes flew in Saturday morning to bring necessary equipment including power generators and communication equipment.

Bus companies’ assistance:

DOTC to talk to bus companies to assist residents who want to leave Tacloban.

Command (Tacloban, Roxas) and logistics (Cebu, Iloilo) centers:

The government is setting up a second Command Center for disaster response in Roxas City.
Roxas City has become a “forward command center” for purposes of rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations.

The first Command Center was set up early Saturday morning in storm-battered Tacloban City, which went off the grid on Friday around the time that storm surges swelled.

Defense Sec. Gazmin will stay in Tacloban to supervise the Command Center in Tacloban.

Interior Sec. Roxas, meanwhile is expected to fly back to Manila and later fly in to his home city, Roxas City, to supervise the second Command Center there.

Cebu province will serve as the logistics center for Tacloban. Iloilo, on the other hand, will serve as the logistics center for Roxas City.

But Cebu will temporarily serve as the logistics center for Roxas City while Iloilo, also battered by Yolanda, is not ready.


November 9, 2013

The Armed Forces established communications facilities in Tacloban City, Roxas City and Mactan City on November 9. On the same day, 100 AFP troops arrived in Tacloban City from Samar (clearing roads as they proceeded to Tacloban via the San Juanico Bridge), with an additional 50 troops due today, November 10. The Philippine National Police sent 150 cops to Tacloban early in the morning of November 10. The troops and police are much needed to restore law and order. The Philippine Air Force brought UN personnel, 22 medical volunteers, Air Traffic Organization staff and cellphone service technicians by special flight today, too.

See the November 9, 2013 morning press briefing of Undersecretary Abigal Valte, the Deputy Presidential Spokesperson, and the evening press interaction of President Benigno S. Aquino III with the media for more details.

November 8, 2013

In the immediate aftermath of the typhoon, efforts were focused on distributing prepositioned relief supplies (in some cases, however, these were destroyed due to the epic scale of the calamity), restoring communications, and clearing roads and bridges to restore communications and contact with communities cut off from each other.

November 7, 2013

In a live nationwide address on television, the President informed the nation on preparations for Typhoon Yolanda, and where to get information on the situation.

As #YolandaPH approached the Philippines, the DSWD prepositioned relief goods in areas expected to be affected; the President dispatched Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin and Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Mar Roxas to Tacloban City to head coordination efforts there.



The NDRRMC is in charge of immediate rescue and other disaster-related efforts, while the DSWD handles relief distribution and evacuation centers. The PCDSPO conveys lists of people needing help to the NDRRMC so names can be included in their lists of people/communities to attend to.


Concerned families and friends from all over the world have been trying to locate loved ones in affected areas. Right now, there are two major initiatives to try to address the need for information.

They are: Google Person Finder and the Philippine Red Cross Tracing Service. We have gotten Google and the Philippine Red Cross in touch with each other, in the hope that they can work out joining forces to provide one unified tracking/finding service.

It’s worth noting that Google’s initiative is a direct outcome of the experience Filipinos had in Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng; volunteers set up a #RescuePH and person finder database and it became the model for Google Crisis Response initatives thereafter. The Red Cross, for its part, has generations of experience in finding people: most notably, it’s how millions of people found each other in the wake of World Wars I and II.

Update (Nov. 13): Many media organizations have decided to support Google People Finder. PCDSPO for its part has done its best to get Google and the Red Cross to unite their People Finder and Tracing Service, I understand talks still ongoing between the two parties on. Decisions pending as the transparency/disclosure policies of the two organizations are different.

Telcos: See Smart & Sun Libreng Tawag in the Visayas. Also, Globe Advisory: Service restoration in Visayas is now underway in areas severely affected by Typhoon Yolanda. Communication services now up in Iloilo and Roxas City. Libreng Charging stations have been set up in Bohol, Leyte and Samar.



See this update from the Department of Social Welfare and Development for November 9 on affected families, and food packs being sent. Additional information on November 9 comes from the Philippine Navy which is also delivering relief by sea. For continuing updates, please see consolidated daily updates in the Official Gazette. On November 11, the President mentioned the logistics hubs are packing 55,000 family food packs per day.


Government Appeals:


From November 7-8, around 161 volunteers went to help pack relief goods. On November 9, a total of 1,168 volunteers helped out. On November 10, a total 2,284 volunteers pitched in.  On November 11, the number of volunteers was 2,170 individuals. The DPWH has also announced at 10:13 AM on November 12 that their shifts are full from November 12-16, 8AM to 12 Midnight, which is good news.

The National Resource Operations Center is now on 24/7 shifts. For those who want to volunteer, kindly call 851 2681 or 09184219780 to schedule your shift at DSWD-NROC. Walk-ins are welcome from 1 AM to 7 AM.


If you are in Cebu and want to help, go to the Provincial Capitol or call 254 7198 or 254 8397.

In Davao City, volunteers to repack goods for #YolandaPH can go to the DPWH Depot, Panacan. Call [082] 227 1964 or 227 8746.

DSWD-X in Cagayan de Oro City is calling for volunteers for #ReliefPH ops. at Masterson Ave., Upper Carmen, & Mt. Carmel, Carmen.

South Cotabato: DSWD-12 calls for volunteers to repack relief goods at DSWD-12, Purok Bumanaag, Brgy Zone3, City of Koronadal. (083 )228 8637 or 228 6009.

Foreign Governments:

Australia has made a donation of relief supplies and sent experts. Britain has offered assistance and dispatched a DFID team. Canada has likewise made a donation to relief organizations, while Manitoba province has also made a donation. The Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs has just granted 2 million Euro (about  2.7 million Dollars) to get disaster relief going.  The money will be spend through UN & Red Cross Programs. The Dutch Red Cross has separately allocated 50 thousand Euro. Denmark is prepared to extend assistance through the U.N. A team has been dispatched from Israel which is also sending a field hospital and staff to the Philippines. The United States has made funds available for disaster relief while search and rescue teams have been dispatched to lend assistance. New Zealand has made a donation to the Red Cross to support relief efforts.

Update: The list of nations has grown to 22 countries. See the list provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs as of November 11. As of November 13, the list has grown to 28 governments (not including international organizations. As of November 14, the list has grown to 33 countries and 5 international organizations.

International Organization Initiatives:

About 4.3 million people are affected by the Typhoon in 36 provinces. Over 330,900 people are in 1,223 evacuation centres and 11,200 people are staying with host communities.The Government accepted the UN offer of international assistance.


Humanitarian Response Philippines

World Food Program

ReliefWeb: Philippines



Private Sector Initiatives:

A comprehensive and growing list of initiatives can be found via MovePH. Some others include:


ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya



Untitled 2




Ayala Foundation

World Vision Development Foundation

University of Santo Tomas: For those who would want to donate in cash, and alumni: Security Bank 0171-008282-201 UST Central Student Council.

There are many other ongoing efforts. Visit Definitely Filipino on FaceBook.

Twitter accounts to follow:

Official Gazette: the official portal of the Republic of the Philippines. Tweets consolidated updates and information. Follow @govph

PCDSPO: Tweets #WalangPasok advisories from schools and institutions, other advisories. Follow @pcdspo Also see Department of Education @DepEd_PH


PAGASA: For weather forecasts and advisories follow @dost_pagasa

DSWD: Updates on the distribution, of relief and other assistance; also monitors the #ReliefPH hashtag to help coordinate/consolidate releif efforts. Follow @dswdserves

Armed Forces of the Philippines: Follow @TeamAFP

Philippine Coast Guard: advisories on sea travel. Follow @PhilCoastGuard1

Department of Transportation and Communications: Advisories on flight cancellations. Follow@DOTCPhilippines

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines: Advisories on airport operations. Follow @CAAP_Operations

National Grid Corporation: For advisories on electricity supply follow @ngcp_alert see also Department of Energy@doe_ph

Localized information:

For localized #YolandaPH related information:

Office of Civil Defense CALABARZON Region: @ocd_calabarzon

Bacolod City: @BacolodSmiles

Cebu Province: @cebugovph

Philippine Information Agency Bohol Province: @PIABohol




Manuel L. Quezon III.

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