Iloilo has bounced back from ‘Yolanda’ devastation – Banias

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FLASHBACK. This photo shows roofless houses dotting the national highway in northern Iloilo in the wake of super typhoon “Yolanda” which claimed lives and devastated buildings, properties and agricultural crops on Nov. 8, 2013. PN FILE PHOTO BY JHUREEN GABALUNOS

ILOILO – This province has risen from the devastation left by super typhoon “Yolanda” five years ago, according to Provincial Administrator Raul Banias.

“Ilonggos are very resilient,” he said yesterday, exactly five years after “Yolanda” plowed the Visayas on Nov. 8, 2013. In this province, northern Iloilo absorbed the most damage.

Data from the Office of Civil Defense Region 6 showed the casualties to have reached 173 Ilonggos, and 12 missing.

A total of 208,287 families (or 949,727 individuals) were affected in this province.

Houses totally wrecked reached 83,327 and 85,622 others were partially damaged.

“We have recovered well in terms of damaged infrastructures and livelihoods,” said Banias.

One of the successful typhoon recovery programs of the provincial government was the “Adopt a Fisherman”. With the help of international and local nongovernment organizations, sympathetic local government units, regional and national government agencies, Banias said displaced fishermen were provided with better boats and other fishing contraptions because theirs were severely damaged by the typhoon.

He particularly cited the help of 1Meal Foundation of Ilongga civic leader and businesswoman Theresa “Nene” Chan. It produced and distributed thousands of fishing boats.

“Now, normal na ang aton fisherfolk. The first and immediate response of the provincial government was the restoration of the livelihood of small fishermen. In our initial discussions with affected marginal fisher folk, they cried for their livelihood, not so much for their houses,” revealed Banias.

The provincial administrator, however, acknowledged that there were other typhoon recovery programs still ongoing in northern Iloilo such as the Restoration Assistance for Yolanda (RAY) of the Department of Interior and Local Government.

RAY aimed to rehabilitate damaged infrastructures in barangays such as multipurpose gyms, health centers, barangay halls, and day care centers.

Another ongoing program is the resettlement/housing of “Yolanda” survivors by the National Housing Authority in northern Iloilo, said Banias.

“We have done everything. I think we have done our best, ang tanan nga dapat himuon sang gobernador kag sang gobyerno probinsyal sa pagbulig sa tanan nga nabiktima sang ‘Yolanda’. I think we have done our work,” said Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr./PN

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