"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Monday, October 02, 2006

Milenyo Team of Experts to Provinces

Red Cross sends teams of experts to typhoon-struck provinces

The Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) has deployed yesterday three parallel assessment teams to make in-depth assessments in typhoon-ravaged Southern Tagalog, including Laguna where landslides recently occurred. The PNRC also further intensified its disaster management efforts, carrying out rescue and relief operations in stricken provinces in the Luzon and Visayan regions.

The assessment teams, which consist of experts from the PNRC and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC), will make assessments in areas of relief, health, water and sanitation, psycho-social support and logistics.

“We sent these experts to assess and identify the needs of the affected communities,” said PNRC chairman Richard J. Gordon. “Then we will come up with an action plan in terms of relief and rehabilitation of badly hit areas.”

Ongoing rescue and relief operations

More than 77,000 families from over a hundred municipalities have been affected, according to reports from local PNRC chapters, with various areas that have suffered from disrupted communication lines and blackouts. As of October 1, a total of 21,112 houses have been identified as completely destroyed, while 68,222 are said to be partially damaged resulting in more than 6,000 evacuees now housed in 157 centers.

In three devastated provinces in the Bicol region, namely, Camarines Sur, Albay-Legaspi and Sorsogon, at least 54,000 families have been affected, with 23 reported deaths including a six-month old boy who was squeezed under a collapsed wall. Over 16,000 have been completely destroyed or washed out.

“In the coming days we will send more relief goods to various evacuation centers as well as more men to help in the clearing of wrecked areas,” added Gordon. “We also sent more generators to our blood banks and blood collecting units so their blood supply will not spoil.”

The PNRC and its chapters are presently conducting relief operations in evacuation centers all over the country, particularly in hard-hit areas in Southern Tagalog and the Bicol region. Several PNRC chapters are also conducting mass feeding in evacuation centers. In Ormoc City, for example, more than 850 families in Liloan have been served with rice, tinapa and noodles.

In addition, the PNRC sent separate rescue teams to Cavite and Laguna where massive flooding and landslides occurred, respectively. As of October 1, they retrieved two dead bodies in Sta. Isabel, Kawit, Cavite, while 31 casualties have been reported in Laguna.

Meanwhile, clearing operation teams sent by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and Holy Spirit have been coordinating with the local government in General Trias, Cavite where a landslide occurred last Thursday. The PNRC, which helped during the search and rescue operations, reported that a total of 8 people were confirmed died, while 21 are still missing.

PNRC Secretary General Corazon Alma G. de Leon, for her part, met with General Trias mayor Luis “Jon-Jon” Ferrer IV last Sunday to discuss rebuilding plans for the 807 families whose houses have been completely washed out. She also led the relief distribution in nearby San Juan II.

“Mayor Ferrer asked the PNRC to help in the rehabilitation,” said de Leon. “Our strategy is to ensure that we do not duplicate but instead complement what other agencies are doing and provide services that the PNRC can best deliver.”

In an interview, Ferrer also expressed his appreciation of the Red Cross and other institutions like the SBMA, K9, Holy Spirit and Intel Corp. for their immediate assistance to General Trias during the landslide. “This is the first time that a tragedy of this magnitude happened in our area and we are grateful for the support given to us,” he said.

Meanwhile, the assessment teams deployed to Southern Tagalog will release a comprehensive report and action plan to guide the humanitarian efforts of the PNRC before October 6.
For inquiries or donations, please call the PNRC hotline at 527-0000 or log on to www.redcross.org.