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‘Tent city’ home to Yolanda victims

By Ferdinand Fabella | Nov. 20, 2013 at 12:15am

As more survivors of typhoon Yolanda flocked to the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City, the local government put up a “tent city” at a nearby public school that will be able to house at least 100 families.

Pasay Mayor Tony Calixto said 50 tents with 200 beds were being set up at the Villamor Airbase Elementary School situated just outside the base, which had become the drop-off point of evacuees fleeing the typhoon-ravaged towns in Eastern Visayas.

Halfway house. Pasay City hall workers arrange folding beds at the “tent city” inside the Villamor Elementary school while another group erects structures that will give shelter to ‘Yolanda’ survivors. DANNY PATA

“This tent city will serve as temporary shelter for typhoon victims who have yet to contact their relatives in Metro Manila, or are undergoing processing by housing agencies, or have otherwise nowhere else to go at this time,” Calixto said.

At least 5,000 refugees, mostly from Leyte and Samar, have arrived at the Villamor Airbase following the onslaught of typhoon Yolanda on November 8. The victims were mostly flown in by the Philippine Air Force C-130 cargo planes transporting relief goods to the calamity areas.

So far, a total 87 individuals who arrived at the airport were transported by city personnel to the homes of their relatives living within Metro Manila.

Upon arriving at the airbase, the survivors were given emergency medical aid and given hot meals by relief workers while awaiting processing.

The Pasay City General Hospital has opened a “Yolanda Ward” to treat patients in need of medical attention from the affected provinces, city hall spokesman Jonathan Malaya said.

“Under normal circumstances the city’s facilities are reserved for Pasay City residents but these are not normal times. This is a national calamity, hence, we have opened our services and our schools and hospitals to our countrymen in need of our help,” Malaya said.

A resident of San Jose in Tacloban City, Norvelyn Ronda, 34, gave birth to a baby boy at the city hospital Tuesday morning, according to PCGH medical director Dr. Jaime Sy.

City officials said teams from the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and health departments are posted at the Villamor Airbase round-the-clock to provide assistance to evacuees.

Malaya said the two teams have at their disposal two ambulances and two utility vans. Ten nurses, one doctor and two nutritionists are providing the necessary medical assistance together with the other volunteer groups deployed in the area.

At least 266 patients have so far been accommodated by the teams; 230 of these were minors ranging from 6 months to 14 years old and they were given vitamin A capsules by the city health personnel, Malaya added.

Meanwhile, National Anti-Poverty Commission Jose Eliseo “Joel” Rocamora will lead a three-kilometer walk at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City on Sunday to drum up support for the homeless in Leyte and Samar.

Rocamora said NAPC has partnered with several groups to help the typhoon victims rebuild their houses.

One of the partners, Habitat’s Resource Development and Communication country manager Gina de los Reyes Virtusio said Habitat would require 30,000 repair kits to build 10,000 houses.

Each core house would cost at least P120,000, she said. A foreign donation of 50 portable houses equipped with an air-conditioning unit each will also be provided to some victims, she added. With Rio Araja

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