IN the wake of typhoon Frank’s devastation, Western Visayas stood out as the hardest hit region. Taking the harshest beating in the area are the provinces of Capiz, Iloilo, Aklan, and Antique. All have already been declared under a state of calamity.
As reported by the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), the region has accounted for 416 of the 500 confirmed dead so far (excluding the casualties of the ill-fated M/V Princess of the Stars), and the most number of people affected by the disaster at 1,487,106, with 184,991 now seeking shelter in evacuation centers.
The Department of Agriculture has also placed the extent of damage to agricultural crops in Western Visayas, a rice-producing region, at P1.3 billion affecting 84,735 hectares.
Of the region’s provinces, Iloilo had the largest share of calamity victims at 673,088. Currently in evacuation centers are 52,397 people. Iloilo has a population of over 1.5 million, while Iloilo City is home to some 400,000 residents.
Yet relief from the national government has been slow in coming. Local government officials have also deplored the inadequate response of the NDCC, so far amounting to only 1,000 sacks of rice for the whole province and just 250 “family packs” of relief goods — three kilos of rice, seven cans of corned beef and seven cans of sardines — for Iloilo City.
(Acknowledgment: Photos above of the destruction wrought by typhoon Frank in Iloilo were taken by Nereo Lujan, a PCIJ fellow based in Iloilo City whose house was one of many inundated by flood waters and mud. Damaged infrastructure include the Amerang and Tabucan Bridges along Tigum River in Cabatuan town. More photos available here.)