A Philippine National Agency report said the provincial board expects more casualties to be recorded as authorities assess the situation in the northern town of Estancia…
Earlier, The towns of Dumangas, Mina, Janiuay, and Zarraga in the province of Iloilo were placed under a state of calamity…
Meanwhile, the town of Sara, remains isolated as of Saturday afternoon after the flood damaged roads to the area.
A number of towns in the 5th district – including Carles, Ajuy, Barotac Viejo, Concepcion, Batad, San Dionisio, San Rafael, and Balasan – also suffered the brunt of Yolanda.
Communication and power lines in these towns remain cut off as of Saturday afternoon.”
News: ‘Iloilo under state of calamity’
10 November 2013
November 5, 2013, in the town of Ajuy, Iloilo, Mayor Juan Alvarez had joined local police officers in their rounds.
“We advised our people to prepare as best they could for Yolanda,” Mayor Juan says. Many locals had already evacuated to assigned centers. Relief packs had been received at different schools, and families had already received food packs.
On the morning on November 8, he explains:
“… Yolanda struck. I was in my office. First, I was confident that the building would be resilient: but since the windows were shaking so hard, and trying to break, I hid myself here, away from the windows. All I could hear were loud bangs as the window glass was destroyed.
Mayor Palabrica of Bingawan remembers shared that immediately after seeing the widespread devastation, he initially felt depressed and frustrated. On the long road to recovery, where would they begin?
Before Super Typhoon struck Bingawan in 2013, they also experienced a strong typhoon – typhoon Quinta – in 2012. “Maybe it is really a result of climate change. It was two years consecutive for us, Quinta and Yolanda,” Mayor Matt P. Palabrica suggested.
“Yolanda was the worst disaster in the history of our community,” Ma. Theresa S. Carsola, a teacher at the local elementary school, remembers.
As Super Typhoon Yolanda approached the town of Carles, the local civic center, most often used to accommodate larg
e events, was used as a temporary evacuation center.
Yet the structure struggled to withstand the sheer force of the typhoon. “Yolanda left only left some sections of the roof intact,” Ma. Theresa explains. “(We had) thought that they gym would withstand typhoons, so many people were there during the disaster.”
Before Super Typhoon Yolanda devastated the municipal hall in Dumangas, Iloilo, water leaks has been a recurring problem on rainy days.
“For the longest time, it is really our problem there. Our guests would usually see the leaks or the pales catching the leaks or much worst employees mopping the floor,” explains municipal employee Angela D. Docdolu. “It is really embarrassing, especially when there’s a meeting.” The employees often joked that it was like sa ilalom ng saging (under the banana tree): though covered from the rain, you’ll still get a little wet.
“It was really sad after Yolanda,” sighs Adrian Tiples, a citizen of Estancia and frequent visitor to the local civic center. “You could see and feel sadness everywhere, because the houses, livelihood and everything in Estancia were damaged.”
This sadness, felt across much of this affected community, was also experienced by Juvy Y. Espiga, a rice vendor in the Estancia public market. She didn’t expect that Yolanda would bring about significant damage to their market place.
Long before the arrival of super typhoon Yolanda, in Janiuay, Iloilo, disaster risk prevention measures had long since served as a top priority.
“Since 2010, our LGU have been practicing and enforcing preventive measures, including evacuations, long before the arrival of Yolanda,” Ricardo S. Minurtio shared.
To ensure that these preventative measures are effective during ‘real time’ disasters, these community-based activities include a range of sectors within the municipality: schools, government officials, local groups, and the like.
“You have to make the people aware, and you have to train them,” Mayor Frankie H. Locsin believes.
Located along the northeastern coastline of Iloilo, the municipality of San Dionisio was among those worst affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda.
“Everything was washed out,” Carlos Paul Lopez, a local municipal official explains. “Even the ant houses!”
While locals were advised to evacuate prior to the typhoon’s arrival, forced evacuation measures proved a challenge in a municipality more used to the impacts of ‘regular’ typhoons. “Many just assumed it would be a normal storm,” Carlos says.
While the townsfolk of San Rafael, Iloilo, were advised to expect Super Typhoon Yolanda, for many, it proved an experience far beyond expectations.
“Ninety percent of the houses here were damaged,” says Marcelino D. Pontaoy, a municipal OIC (Officer-In-Charge). “Including our gym, municipal hall and public market. Many of the trees toppled down. So many people were without shelter.”
“When a calamity like Yolanda strikes,” Melvin Lyndon B. Garzon says, “you’re kind of numb: that you were powerless. You’re like a robot. At first, you don’t even care that you’ve survived.”
So begin the powerful memories – of rampant destruction, survival and ongoing recovery – shared among the residents of Sara, Iloilo.
In the forty-eight hours prior to the super typhoon’s expected landfall, a forced evacuation was undertaken, with nearby residents were evacuated to the municipal hall. “We tried to prepare, but nothing could be done,” Melvin says. “Nobody could have fully prepare for that kind of typhoon.”