More than 17,000 Tacloban residents moved to safer places ahead of Ruby’s landfall

By on December 5, 2014

FLASHBACK? A man runs for safety as Supertyphoon 'Haiyan' lashes through Panay Island on November 8, 2013 (Richard Whitcombe / Shutterstock)
FLASHBACK? A man runs for safety as Supertyphoon ‘Haiyan’ lashes through Panay Island on November 8, 2013 (Richard Whitcombe / Shutterstock)

TACLOBAN CITY — Traumatized by super typhoon Yolanda, at least 17,416 individuals voluntarily moved to 18 designated safe evacuation centers in this city ahead of super typhoon Ruby’s landfall.

Ildebrando Bernadas, city disaster risk reduction and management officer, said that it’s not anymore a concern for the local government to ask families to evacuate because of the trauma.

“Even prior to the pronouncement of forced evacuation, thousands of people have left danger zones. That is because of their traumatic experience during the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda,” Bernadas said.

City Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez earlier ordered a forced evacuation Thursday to achieve zero casualty during the onslaught of typhoon Ruby.

“In anticipation of the perils typhoon Ruby may bring, the city government therefore deems it wise to prepare and be ready for any eventuality this may cause,” Romualdez said.

About 3,000 people perished during last year’s super typhoon in this city, considered as Yolanda’s ground zero. The climatic crisis has raised people’s consciousness about disaster preparedness.

Of the 17,416 evacuees, Eastern Visayas State University has the most number at 5,350 persons.

The Anibong Elementary School has 2,495 evacuees. Residents of Anibong district have been traumatized by storm surges whipped by Yolanda’s wind that washed ships ashore, killing people and damaging houses.

The largest evacuation center – the Tacloban Astrodome with a capacity of 7,000 people has only 200 evacuees.

The dome, located near the seaside, was hit by storm surges, but there was no single casualty among thousands of evacuees.

“The building has been proven as disaster resilient, but we cannot blame people if they don’t want to take shelter there since it was inundated by seawater during Yolanda,” Bernadas said.

Other evacuation centers crowded by evacuees are Sagkahan National High School (430 persons), Caibaan Elementary School (75), Saint Raphael Church (96), Leyte Progressive High School (1,100), Barangay (village) 69 hall (10), Leyte Normal University (1,606).

Marasbaras National High School (114), V & G Elementary School (330), Ride View Evacuation Center (305), Kapangian Central School (1,100), Redemptorist Church (688), Holy Infant College (1,057), Rizal Central School (682), RTR Elementary School (478), and Leyte National High School (1,805).

In San Jose district, where more than a thousand perished of storm surge last year, some areas turned out to be ghost villages as people move to safer grounds since Wednesday.

“I don’t want to experience the same ordeal again. Our entire family is moving to a school in Abucay district where there are no threats of big waves,” said Lorena Varon, 27 of Taguictic village in San Jose, a community near the city’s airport.

Her neighbors were carrying clothes, appliances, documents, food supply and even pets as they move away to higher grounds.