Interview with Victor Tarco, Governor of the Province of Capiz
How has the Typhoon affected the province?
According to the most recent information, 692,000 people were affected by the typhoon in Capiz, leaving 130,000 houses totally or partially destroyed and 160,000 homeless people sheltering in 841 evacuation sites. The disaster has taken a heavy toll on the province. Fortunately, we have managed to limit the casualties: we took the lead in anticipating the typhoon’s arrival and almost all coastal residents were evacuated as a preventive measure, even if it was against their will. Given the extent of damage and the number of houses destroyed, our preparedness clearly saved lives.
Economically, the losses are also enormous: we forecasted the damage to infrastructure is 65 million Euros, the damage to the agricultural sector is 12 million Euros and the damage to the fishing industry is 6 million Euros. Our province’s livelihood is mainly agriculture and fishing. Our economy was negatively affected and we need funds.
What is the focus for your province right now?
Our main problems and priorities are restoring electricity and the telecommunication networks. Drinking water is also one of our biggest problems: many water sources have been contaminated. Hospitals and homes were hit very hard: 90% of homes were destroyed in some areas. Rebuilding all the houses, repairing all the roads and bridges will be the biggest operation this province has ever seen.
Municipalities led distribution of food, water and water filters, but now we have come to the end of our stock: we need international aid. The priority is food, including food distribution in evacuation centers. I feel like Capiz will never be the same again.
Where has your province received help from?
The day after the disaster, we transformed the offices of the province to a command center and dedicated a large part of our space to humanitarian coordination. It helps to have all of the humanitarian actors in one place. In the evening, everyone shares their information with one another.
I am extremely touched by international aid and to the foreigners who came so far to help. They are highly organized and very cooperative; better so than in other islands.