Reports of the disaster
Unwelcome first for Philippines flood relief workers.... 4/11/09
Philippines flood relief volunteers are facing an unwelcome first as they carry on working after a month of constant emergency conditions. Normally they are needed for up to 3 weeks, but after four major typhoons in a month the usual change from crisis to clean up has yet to happen. ACT International workers were bearing up well in the aftermath of the fourth typhoon to hit the Philippines in a month. The latest typhoon, Mirinae, left 14 dead after it hit Manila and nearby rice producing provinces.
The devastation from the unprecedented four typhoons has left extensive flooding, injuries, damaged crops such as rice and vegetables and forced the Government to pledge to import rice for the next two months. ACT International’s Minnie-Anne Calub said the collective impact of the typhoons had been stressful for staff and volunteers within the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. “Four weeks after a typhoon we are usually heading toward the rehabilitation phase. This is the first time we have had a series of typhoons,” she said.
It had been thought that the normal post crisis conditions would apply by now, but instead because of the continuous typhoons, rains and floods, the water would not subside and people simply could not go home. Despite the long emergency the volunteer workers are in good shape. “They are not tired but they are worried about the situation for the people. I have seen on the faces of our volunteers that as long as we are still healthy enough to work and there is help coming then we will move forward,’’ Minnie-Anne Calub said.
With continued flooding relief workers and government officials were increasingly worried about outbreaks of disease such as leptospirosis and dengue. Relief requests have come in to help about 30,000 families with up to seven members. These funds will be used to buy staples such as food, water, health care, school items and other basics.
Many villages are still cut off by landslides. In the town of Abatan ACT had given out school kits of writing pads, pencils and crayons for children to use to draw what they had seen during the emergency as a way of helping them cope with the trauma. Minnie Anne Calub said that in other places the village they had gone to find had just disappeared. Whole communities had been swept away. In other places homeless families had taken shelter in schools but now had nowhere to go.
Minnie-Anne Calub said that despite the long nature of the emergency and the huge challenges ahead she had been greatly personally encouraged in her efforts by the gifts of funds from individuals and churches in other countries.
The Philippines: People scared of what's to come 7/10/09ACT International
Manila, Philippines - More than half a million displaced people in the Philippines are trying to create a living out of nothing. Their homes were washed away when tropical storm Ketsana hit a week ago. And last weekend super-typhoon Parma arrived in the Philippines, but the population was prepared … and the poorest houses were already damaged.
In the areas that were hit by the typhoons houses and streets are still muddied and streets are lined with garbage. Houses along the river are filled with piles of plastic garbage and assortment of damaged appliances, furniture and fixtures. Close to 9000 families are affected and need food and non-food items. Some have built informal shelters along the bridge; some houses are still under heel-deep mud and mostly totally wrecked.
Still, homeless people try to move to a new location for a better and safer life.ACT International and partners are assisting the population with the reconstruction, and have an urgent need for more funds to continue the work. It was reported that 240 people lost their lives when the typhoon hit 25 local provinces. A month's rainfall fell in one day and resulted in widespread flooding. There were areas that only can be accessed through rubber boats.
Daphne Villanueva, country representative of ACT member Christian Aid, says that the emergency is about more than shelter, clean water and destroyed homes. “The population is scared and stressed, anxious for what is to come. In some areas people have been evacuated, and they don’t know when to return,” she says. Villanueva knows what she is talking about. Her own home was taken by the typhoon and she had to rescue her own family under dramatic circumstances.
Message from the NCCP 1/10/09
Staff and a team of National of Council of Churches in the Philippines volunteers are today distributing supplies sourced locally to those who need them most in Quezon City. They will expand this support to the wider region as they receive much needed funds.
In a message asking for support the General Secretary the Rev Rex Reyes said,
“We are aware that it is a moment of challenge and a pastoral responsibility to all of us who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Saviour to minister to the victims and mourn with the bereaved, and accompany those who are still searching for missing friends and relatives.
These are times which test our faith and also empower us by God’s grace to be with the Filipino people and witness to our faith either by word, action or by being a silent presence.
We believe this is also a time for us to pool our human and material resources and to work as far as possible ecumenically, and even with people of our sister faiths. It is at times like this that we can demonstrate to the world that our faith which is nurtured by the mind of Christ can transcend all divisions based on religion, class, caste, ethnicity, colour, gender and politics, to ease the pain and suffering of the people and become a beacon of strength and hope to those who have lost almost everything in life.”
Local Partner appeals for help 30/9/09NCCP
The onslaught of Ondoy affected 5 regions including the National Capital Region (NCR) and the Cordillera Autonomous Region and 7 provinces. In the National Capital Region, worst areas hit are Manila, Muntinlupa, and Taguig with most number of affected barangays and hence, families and individuals. In Central Luzon, worst hit areas are Bulacan and Pampanga; Laguna and Batangas in South Luzon.
Statistics from the National Disaster Coordinating Council, death toll has reached 240, 37 confirmed missing from 5 different regions with 20 of them coming from Region IV-A. These numbers are still expected to rise as many are still unreported. As of last count of the National Disaster Coordination Council (NDCC), the total number of population affected is 1,872,036 individuals or 319,881 families 939 barangays all over Luzon. These families have been displaced because their homes have been washed away.
As of current estimates, cost of damages totals to 2.4 billion pesos – 1.5 million of which is damage to infrastructure and 882 million is the damage to agriculture.
At present, rescue operations are still ongoing and some areas have not been even reached. Some areas are still submerged in water. In areas where water has subsided, water and power supply are cut off because water and power systems and generators were damaged by floodwater as well. Communications in disaster stricken areas is difficult. Most of those stranded cannot call for help because the batteries of their mobile phones are dead and they are not able to charge them because of cut-off power supply.
Though many people are involved in rescue and relief operations, there is more to do for many still have no access to food and water. Response is slow because of many factors including lack of equipment. The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) through its member churches, regional ecumenical councils and people’s organizations in the affected areas have been monitoring the emergency situation. We have sent out requests for emergency assistance for food, clothing, temporary shelter, sleeping paraphernalia, and medicines. Requests for donations have been sent out to the NCCP member churches and other partner organizations.
Survivors will very much appreciate donations in kind in the form of:
- Mosquito nets
- Sleeping mats
- Cooking utensils
- Spoons and forks
- Medicines for flu, cough, cold, diarrhea, antibacterial and anti-fungal creams,
- Materials of wound dressing such as bandages and Betadine
- Personal hygiene needs (e.g., toothpaste, toothbrush, bath soap)
- Laundry soap
Thank you very much and may our compassionate God continually bless us all as we continue our service to God’s People!
Water neck high 30/09/09
Almost half a million people have been affected by the unprecedented flooding in the Philippines.
Tropical storm Ketsana, known locally as Ondoy hit the country’s northern provinces on 26 September, resulting in flash floods and landslides. A month’s rainfall fell in only 12 hours.
The death toll was over 240 by 30 September and is expected to climb. More than 150 000 people are homeless.
CWS partners through ACT International are distributing urgent assistance including food, water, clothes, candles, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, pots and pans. Local churches have opened their premises as relief and evacuation centres.
ACT international workers in the area reported escaping their homes through neck deep water.
Waters rose so fast that people living in low lying areas were caught unaware. They were forced to stay on the roofs of their houses to avoid being swept away by the flood. Collapsed river walls weakened by floodwaters caused more damage coupled with raging waters. Homes were washed away and the families lost all their possessions. Almost all residents have also lost their means of livelihood as factory workers, tricycle drivers and small vendors.
ACT International is preparing an appeal for international support to members’ responses. The requested relief assistance will include food, drinking water, non-food relief items, basic medicines and personal hygiene needs.
The unprecedented flooding highlights the devastating effects of climate change on the world’s poorest people.