A week since Bopha battered Mindanao in Southern Philippines; World Vision speeds up relief operations particularly in Compostela Valley and Agusan del Sur, two of the hardest-hit provinces in Mindanao.
Hundreds of displaced families in Compostela Valley are still staying in cramped evacuation centers with no comfort rooms. In Agusan, water is a crying need as water sources turned muddy due to the floods. Families who have no food for days resort to eating coconuts to ease their hunger.
Nearly 2000 typhoon-hit families in Compostela Valley have received relief assistance this week and more relief distributions are underway as World Vision staff on the ground work with local government to map out relief assistance in the hardest-hit villages.
In Agusan del Sur, World Vision distributes over PUR water packets to over 1000 families. Each family received PUR water purification packets which can provide one month’s supply of safe drinking water.
Casualties continue to rise with deaths now reaching 714 while 890 remain missing days after Typhoon Bopha unleashed heavy rains, mudslides and fierce winds that left houses blown away and entire communities flattened. Disaster management authorities say that over 5.4 million people have been affected.
Total damage in infrastructure and agriculture now reach more than 7 billion pesos. Farmlands are reduced into wastelands, destroying the livelihood of thousands of farmers who rely on growing rice, vegetables and export quality fruits like bananas. Massive challenges are now being experienced in affected areas as communication lines are still being stabilized while power is yet to be restored. Relief trucks struggle to reach affected communities that are isolated by damaged roads and bridges.
World Vision is concerned about the well-being of children and families that are devastated by the typhoon. Groups of children roam around the streets begging for food. Children and human trafficking are issues are also in need of attention.
Honey Joy Sampiano, World Vision staff working on children in emergencies shares, “World Vision is working with authorities to ensure that child protection measures are in place to minimize abuse, exploitation and other risks by upholding children’s rights especially in the aftermath of disasters.”
World Vision is also working on setting up Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) to look into the psychosocial needs of children who are affected by the devastation. CFS are safe venues for children to express themselves and play as they return to normalcy. CFS also prepare children to go back to school after being hit by a big disaster.
“We can only imagine how bleak Christmas would be to the thousands of families whose loved ones were lost and houses washed out by the recent typhoon. But we remain optimistic, because Filipinos are known to be one of the most resilient people in the world,” says World Vision Executive Director Elnora Avarientos.
World Vision is among the first relief NGO’s on the ground working to assist 10,000 families through relief assistance, food-for-work programs, temporary shelter and house repair; and livelihood assistance for the next 6 months.
Recently, President Aquino’s declaration of National State of Calamity, prodded international organizations and agencies to commit humanitarian aid for relief and rehabilitation of Bopha-hit communities.
“We pray that amid the tragedy that befell many of our countrymen, they would still be able have a reason to celebrate the holidays and rebuild their lives and communities. And you can be an instrument in making this happen, by sharing your blessings through World Vision’s relief efforts,” Avarientos added.
for more information, you may log onto www.worldvision.org.ph or call hotline (02) 372-7777