TACLOBAN CITY - The local government wants to relocate the Tacloban City airport, which was nearly wiped out by Supertyphoon "Yolanda" three weeks ago, to a safer place along with the hundreds of residents who used to settle near the facility, an official said on Thursday.
"We might have to relocate the airport, as part of the master plan to rehabilitate Tacloban," said Tacloban Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin told the Inquirer by telephone.
He said the airport has functioned adequately as a gateway for cargo, passengers and relief, but its location may no longer be feasible given the strength of recent storms.
He said the city council held a special session on Wednesday to draw up details of the master plan.
The city government is also seeking a 50-hectare lot away from the coastlines to house the airport and survivors of the village of San Jose, which is near the runway, he said.
"We're looking for a place that is storm surge-proof, flood-free, and not vulnerable to earthquakes and landslides. That's really hard to find, and I don't know if we can find an area like that here. Fifty hectares might still be too small to [house] all residents affected by the storm," Yaokasin said.
"At this time, we have not received [information as to how much the national government has] earmarked for rehabilitation. We heard they are getting funds from other governments, and the World Bank. But we may tap funds that other local governments have given us," he said.
Yaokasin said bodies are still being retrieved from the piles of debris all over the city, but this time it was a race to clear the area so people could rebuild.