31 January 2013

Activity Report on the Department's Participation on Habagat Relief Drive

The relief goods that students provided. 

Last August 2012, Metro Manila and nearby provinces experienced destructive floods due to heavy rains enhanced by "habagat" or the southwest monsoon. In response to the needs of the flood victims, the Department urged students to help in the relief drive.  As appreciation of the students' generosity in being part of relief mission series by the Task Force Children of the Storm, the Department would like to share the following activity report by the NGO partner of this endeavor, Association for the Rights of Children in Southeast Asia (ARCSEA). 


In August 2012, for almost two weeks, the incessant rain brought about by Typhoon Gener followed by the effect of the southwest monsoon (Habagat) caused massive floods in the provinces of Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog and the National Capital Region.  Particularly, the riverside community of Sitio Olandes in Barangay Industrial Valley Complex in Marikina City suffered heavy losses as the torrential rains caused the increase of water level in Marikina river forcing a significant number of residents to evacuate to safer locations and evacuation centers. 

Flooded houses in Sitio Olandes, Bgy. IVC, Marikina.
In the early morning of 7 August 2012, the water level in the nearby Marikina river reached the critical level of eighteen (18) meters and even reached twenty (20) meters as the rains continued to pour. Overspills from La Mesa Dam added to the rise of the water level. This caused the community of Sitio Olandes in Barangay Industrial Valley Complex as well as other communities to submerge in floodwater as high as twelve (12) feet. Water began to subside the next morning only to rise again in the afternoon. The flooding affected 1,500 households in Sitio Olandes or about 7,500 individuals.

Three years after the onslaught of Typhoon ‘Ondoy’ (Ketsana), which heavily affected Sitio Olandes, another devastating flooding hit the poverty-stricken community. In light of the recent disaster, the people’s economic activity is heavily disrupted. Most of the people from this community are contractual workers with no security of tenure or benefits in cases for disaster. Children’s schooling is also affected especially since their schools were also affected by the flooding and needs repairs and cleaning up. The community’s health is also affected as supply of clean and safe drinking water, food and medicines are scarce and/or inaccessible and unaffordable. With this in mind, as the people struggle to recover from disaster that befallen them, it is of utmost necessity that continuous relief be provided to them in these trying times.

In light of the disaster, the Task Force Children of the Storm, which was formed during the onslaught of Typhoon Ondoy was revived in order to provide relief to the victims of the disaster. It conducted several relief missions The Task Force is composed of five children’s organizations and institutions including the Association for the Rights of Children in Southeast Asia (ARCSEA).

On the 8th of August 2012, porridge, pancit and packed lunch were distributed to 1,650 individuals residing at Sitio Olandes, Barangay Industrial Valley Complex, Marikina City. On the 10th of August, 1,000 individuals (children and adults) were given porridge and egg and 413 families were given relief packs containing 1 kilo of rice, milk, packs of instant noodles and canned goods. The following day, 11th of August, 132 packs of clothing were given to the victims of Barangay Bagong Silangan, Quezon City.

On the 21st of August 2012, the Task Force Children of the Storm conducted a Health and Relief Mission providing medical check-up and medicines for 200 children and 100 adults in Sitio Olandes, Barangay Industrial Valley Complex, Marikina City. The Health and Relief Mission also provided relief goods to 350 families in the same community through the support of Sto. Domingo Parish Church in Quezon City. As victims wait in queue, playgroups were organized for the children and discussions on breastfeeding, health care, children’s situation and rights and disaster preparedness were conducted with the adults. 

Volunteers giving out relief goods.
The following day, 22nd of August 2012, the Task Force Children of the Storm in cooperation with the Kaibigan Ermita Outreach Foundation conducted a relief mission in the constantly flooded communities of Obando, Bulacan where floods could reach up to four meters high during high tide. Four hundred packs of relief goods were distributed to children of Sitios San Pascual, Paliwas, Catangalan, Panghulo, Hulo and Pag-asa. Children-victims of the disaster and the volunteers in the said relief mission shared a breakfast of porridge, bread and egg.

Next in the series of relief missions by the Task Force is another relief mission and psycho-social first aid for the children of Sitio Olandes, Bgy. IVC, Marikina City conducted on the 26th of August 2012. 50 families were provided with relief packs containing canned goods, rice, instant noodles, toiletries and some clothes. Volunteer social workers, psychologists and advocates facilitated several activities for 30 children aimed at assessing and ensuring their psycho-social well-being despite the recent disaster that befallen them. Medical check-ups and medicines were also provided during the said activity.  The Sto. Domingo Parish Church and the University of the Philippines’ Department of Geography provided invaluable support in this relief mission through the contributions and donations provided by parishioners and the department’s students, faculty and staff.

The Task Force Children of the Storm, an initiative of five children’s organizations and institutions jointly working in providing relief and rehabilitation particularly to children victims of disasters was able to pool in resources from within themselves and from the support it mustered from its networks and alliances and from good-hearted institutions and individuals. Such efforts brought about the series of relief missions providing relief packs, clothing, medical attention and psycho-social first aid to the victims of the massive flooding in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces, especially to children. - ARCSEA - Task Force Children of the Storm

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