Support for the Philippines floods
10 Aug 2012 | Blog | Emergency Relief | Philippines
On Monday night August 6, a series of Philippines’ cities including Manila, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Quezon City, Marikina, Taguig, Paranaque, Pasig and Pasay were placed on red alert as a Typhoon Saola fuelled a southwest monsoon causing incessant rains across the region.
At least 85 people have died since then, including nine in a landslide in a hillside slum in Quezon City and several others who drowned in outlying provinces. School classes were suspended last week as cities declared a state of calamity, and government offices were slowly reopening. Nearly two million people were affected by the floods and 800,000 people were stranded or displaced. Luzon appears to be the worst hit with 216,328 HH (1.1 million people) in 930 evacuation centres in Central Luzon, and an additional 615,137 people outside of evacuation centres staying with relatives and friends.
More than 761,189 families or around 3.5 million people were affected across 1529 Barangays, 128 Municipalities and 36 Cities in 16 provinces. It has been estimated 240,000 children have been forced from their homes as floods sweep across Manila.
This is a personal story from Caritas Australia’s own Kath Rosic - Program Coordinator Indonesia & Philippines.
It just seems like yesterday that I put the phone down from talking to our partners asking how they were managing the flood in Manila, and here I am again emailing and calling to ask the same questions.
The long term impact of these types of disasters are difficult because although they have become quite common in recent times, planning for the future is very difficult and it takes some time for communities to get back on their feet.
Many children cannot go to school for days, and livelihoods are often compromised as businesses suffer flooding as well. Work is almost impossible to get to and people have to go without to income for some weeks before things get back to some kind of normality. This is a big ask in a country where many earn so little at the best of times.
People flee with what they have in their hands and with what they can carry and quickly evacuate to higher ground. One of our partners who have a very small office in an urban slum of Quezon City, had 120 people spending the day and night after being evacuating.
When I was there in June 2012, there were around 20 people in the main area and it was full. I cannot imagine where they would have slept 120 people and how they could have fed them, but this is what they do! People are in need and they reach out to help them.
Another partner had to do the same thing, evacuate the people living on the river banks because the river had started to overflow. They emailed me saying “Please pray for us” as again they faced another disaster in their area.
We have been working with communities to make them more resilient to disasters and conducted disaster risk reduction training which is proving successful because fewer people have lost their lives and have been able to evacuate safely.
This is what we will continue to do for as long as it is needed.
Caritas partners are on the ground providing immediate emergency aid like housing repair and food supplies to people affected by this flood crisis. We are continuing to monitor the situation and stay in frequent contact with our many offices across the entire region in preparation for further flooding and damage.
To help deliver life-giving support when emergencies strike, please donate to our Emergency Relief Fund.
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