President Aquino declared a State of National Calamity on Monday after Super Typhoon Yolanda wrecked havoc in the Visayas. According to the latest information from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Yolanda left 1,774 dead, injured 2,487, and 82 missing 82.The President made the declaration in a bid to hasten efforts to help rehabilitate typhoon-ravaged areas.
"Idineklara natin ang State of National Calamity upang mapabilis ang mga pagkilos ng pamahalaan para sa pagsagip, paghahatid ng tulong at rehabilitasyon ng mga probinsyang sinalanta ni Yolanda (We are declaring a State of National Calamity to accelerate the efforts of government to save, to render aid, and to rehabilitate the provinces that were ravaged by Yolanda)," Aquino said, noting he has already approved an additional P1.1 billion for relief and rehabilitation efforts.
The declaration is also meant to control the prices of basic goods and services and avoid overpricing and hoarding, the President added.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) earlier announced a price freeze in Iloilo, Antique, Capiz, Coron in Palawan, Negros Oriental, and Ormoc and Tacloban City in Leyte.
A State of Calamity is defined under law as "a condition involving mass casualty and/or major damages to property, disruption of means of livelihoods, roads and normal way of life of people in the affected areas as a result of the occurrence of natural or human-induced hazard."
Aquino last declared a State of National Calamity on Dec. 7, 2012 in the wake of the devastation caused by Typhoon Pablo in Mindanao.
The President was in Tacloban on Sunday to see for himself the devastation. Reports say he became visibly dismayed while he was being briefed on the magnitude of the damage Yolanda left in the province. Later, he reportedly walked out from a disaster council meeting after a businessman suggested he declare Martial Law.
Yolanda hit Eastern Visayas on Friday, downing power lines and cutting off communications.
A State of Calamity has already been declared in several areas.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) estimated at least 2 million families were affected in at least 8 provinces.
Survivors are desperate for food, water and medicines. Looting has already been reported in Tacloban City, Leyte. Some 800 policemen have been deployed to Tacloban and other typhoon-hit areas to restore peace and order.
International aid has already started pouring into the country. The President said at least 22 countries have already pledged aid for the typhoon's victims, including Indonesia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, and Hungary.
Yolanda is considered the largest cyclone to hit the planet in 2013.
READ MORE: 'Yolanda' survivors desperate for aid
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