Damages to the water supply system stemming from the flooding associated with the shear line left communities in the municipality of Lopez Jaena, Misamis Occidental without access to safe water.
In a letter to PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon dated 06 January, Lopez Jaena Mayor Andrea Cherry Pink Gutierrez expressed her appreciation for the Philippine Red Cross’s (PRC) immediate response to address the water crisis in the town. “The Municipality of Lopez Jaena is truly grateful for your generosity and support in providing drinking and clean water to our constituents in the aftermath of the calamity that struck our municipality which caused great damage to our water system,” the letter stated.
From 31 December 2022 to 08 January 2023, the PRC distributed 157,000 liters in Lopez Jaena, providing clean safe water to affected communities.
Mayor Gutierrez mentioned that the municipality is still “incapable of providing clean drinking water to its constituents”, adding that their water system in the town is still being repaired. In line with this, the PRC WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) Unit, through the directives of Chairman Gordon, installed two water bladders in Barangay Sibugon and Barangay Biasong. The WASH unit will also install another water bladder in Easter Poblacion. According to WASH Unit, each water bladder is capable of storing and distributing 10, 000 liters of water.
Mayor Gutierrez concluded her letter by requesting for PRC’s continuous “assistance in providing clean water to its constituents” while their water system is being repaired.
According to the latest data from the Philippine Red Cross’s (PRC) Operations Center, 30 barangays in Zamboanga City were affected by floods due to shear line-driven heavy rains. On 11 January, the PRC Zamboanga City Chapter distributed Doxycycline, a prophylactic agent used for the treatment of Leptospirosis, to 500 affected individuals in Barangay Guiwan and Barangay Pasonanca, Zamboanga City.
PRC Health Services explained that floodwater increases the exposure of communities to Leptospirosis and other water-borne diseases. An individual with open wounds or skin lesions can become infected through direct contact with water, soil, and mud contaminated with infected animal urine. Without immediate and proper treatment, Leptospirosis can damage kidneys and cause liver failure. Children and pregnant women, however, cannot take the medication.
“Marami sa ating mga kababayan ang napipilitang sumulong sa baha. Nagpadala tayo ng doxycycline sa Barangay Guiwan and Barangay Pasonanca para tulungan ang ating mga kababayan na protektahan ang kanilang sarili laban sa banta ng Leptospirosis. Nakatakda tayong magpadala pa ng sapat na supply ng doxycycline sa mga apektadong lugar para matulungan ang mas marami pang biktima ng baha sa Zamboanga,” said Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon.
Furthermore, heavy rains also displaced 1, 516 families in Western Samar, Masbate, Northern Samar, and Misamis Occidental. In line with this, the PRC placed its relief assets, equipment, and volunteers on standby to provide humanitarian assistance intuitively and rapidly to affected areas within the next 24 hours.
As of 10 January, the PRC has provided the following humanitarian aid to communities affected by shear line-induced rains since the Christmas weekend: 219,650 liters of clean and safe water through its water tankers and bladders, psychological first aid to 2,714 adults and children, hygiene education to 1,574 people, hygiene kits to 446 families, jerry cans to 355 families, water search and rescue to 201 individuals, including children, sleeping kits to 360 families, non-standard food ration and bread to 138 families, first aid services to 134 persons, and health education and medicines to 87 people.
Increased transmission risks of waterborne, Influenza, Leptospirosis and Dengue (WILD) Diseases are unfolding in several provinces of Mindanao as unprecedented flooding continues. In addition to humanitarian aid, the Philippine Red Cross on 07 January also intensified the implementation of its health campaign across different PRC chapters in Mindanao.
To shed light on the nature, risks, symptoms, and prevention of WILD Diseases, the PRC Mindanao chapters mobilized the Red Cross 143 (RC143) volunteers to post and distribute brochures and flyers, disseminate information through SMS alerts and texts, and conduct health promotion sessions in Gingoog, Oroquieta, Tangub, Ozamis, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga City, Cagayan de Oro, Agusan del Norte, Surigao Del Sur, and Iligan City.
PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon reiterated the importance of preventive measures in restraining the transmission of WILD Diseases. “Mataas ang infections risk ng ganitong mga sakit [WILD Diseases] sa mga komunidad na may baha dahil ginagawa itong breeding ground ng mga daga at lamok. Maaring mapababa ang risk kung patuloy nating tutulungan at bibigyan ng kaalaman ating mga komunidad sa Mindanao sa kung paano maiiwasan ang pagkalat ng Leptospirosis, Dengue at iba pang waterborne diseases. Nananatiling alisto ang ating Health unit at volunteers sa Mindanao sa pagsasagawa ng mga health campaign,” explained Chairman Gordon.
In addition to health campaigns, the PRC Health Services sent Doxycycline, a prophylactic agent used for the treatment of Leptospirosis, to Mindanao. According to the PRC, an individual with open wounds or skin lesions can become infected through direct contact with water, soil, and mud contaminated with infected animal urine. Without immediate and proper treatment, Leptospirosis can damage kidneys and cause liver failure. Children and pregnant women, however, cannot take the medication.
As of 09 January, the PRC has also provided the following humanitarian aid to communities affected by floods caused by the shear line over the Christmas weekend: 191,650 liters of clean and safe water through its water tankers and bladders, psychological first aid to 2,714 adults and children, hygiene education to 1,574 people, hygiene kits to 446 families, jerry cans to 355 families, water search and rescue to 201 individuals, including children, sleeping kits to 360 families, non-standard food ration and bread to 138 families, first aid services to 134 persons, and health education and medicines to 87 people.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) CEO and Chairman Richard J. Gordon praised the hard work and unwavering dedication of PRC staff and volunteers who provided medical services to devotees during the feast period of the Black Nazarene 2023.
Since 8:00 PM of 06 January, the PRC staff and volunteers have been on standby and providing continuous assistance to devotees who needed medical care. In a statement addressed to volunteers and staff, Chairman Gordon said “The Philippine Red Cross is able to serve and assist the devotees of the Black Nazarene Feast because of the volunteers and staff who have been working day and night since January 06. They brave the night and cold weather to attend to the needs of our people. Tunay na maasahan ang ating PRC volunteers, staff, and medical teams sa mga ganitong pagkakataon. Patuloy tayong aalalay sa mga deboto hanggang matapos ang Black Nazarene Feast.”
PRC Secretary General Gwendolyn T. Pang, meanwhile, similarly lauded the commitment of volunteers and staff. “I am proud of the volunteers and staff who dedicated their time to serve our kababayans in one of the most celebrated feasts in Philippine history. It is our collective effort that made our operation a successful one,” said Secretary General Pang.
As of 9:00 AM, 09 January, 461 devotees received medical assistance from PRC ambulance teams, volunteer doctors, and first aid stations, 417 of whom underwent blood pressure tests while 42 with minor injuries (e.g., abrasion, sprain, chest pain, contusion, abdominal pain, and nausea) received first aid treatment.
The PRC Emergency Medical Unit (EMU) served seven devotees with minor bruises and transported one patient who experienced chest pain and breathing problems to Philippine General Hospital (PGH) for further medical assessment. In addition to medical services, the PRC also provided Psychological First Aid (PFA) to two individuals attending the feast.
Hundreds of thousands of devotees are expected to gather at Quiapo Church and Quirino Grandstand from January 07 to 09 for the Black Nazarene’s first-ever “Walk of Faith”.
In line with this, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) will dispatch more than 300 volunteers in 4 first aid stations and welfare desks along the procession route with 17 teams of foot patrollers serving as mobile first-aiders. Fire trucks and ambulance teams will also be in strategic areas starting January 07 to provide medical assistance to devotees coming from different regions of the country.
“A stampede and other incidents can happen in large crowds. We will prepare and deploy our volunteers, ambulance teams, and Emergency Response Units to ensure the safety of participants in the Black Nazarene Feast,” said PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon.
The PRC also released the following safety reminders to help devotees avoid incidents that may occur during the feast:
- Secure your house before leaving. Unplug all electrical appliances.
- Be mentally and physically prepared.
- Pregnant women and persons who are sick are advised to stay home and rest.
- Bring protective gear against heat and rain.
- When coming in groups, designate a meeting point in case someone gets lost.
- Know the location, means of access, police stations, and first aid stations within the area.
- If there is an untoward incident, do not panic but take necessary precautions.
- Keep an ID with personal medical information and emergency contact numbers with you.
- Bring water, food and medications.
- Wear a facemask, and practice proper disinfection.
- Wear proper clothing and footwear. Avoid accessories.
Download the FIRST AID – IFRC APP, in case of emergency, call the Red Cross 143 hotline or 87902300.
In addition to these safety reminders, the PRC reiterated the importance of practicing minimum public health protocols as the transmission of Covid-19 is relatively high in crowded settings.
The Philippine Red Cross Iligan City Chapter mobilized 4 Volunteers after a landslide incident happened at Purok 5, Brgy Santa Elena, Iligan City.
There were no casualties nor damaged houses reported. PRC Iligan Chapter is in close coordination with CDRRMO.
LOOK: Philippine Red Cross – Cebu Chapter deployed foot patrollers and a first aid station to the early morning procession and novena Mass today, January 5, which marks the commencement of the week-long Sinulog festival.
For this grand celebration, the Philippine Red Cross will deploy 3 ambulances, 1 negative pressure ambulance, 1 Emergency Medical Services unit, 2 rescue boats, First Aid stations, Welfare Desk, and foot patrollers as the event progresses.
PRC Chairman and CEO Dick Gordon is reminding everyone to stay safe and be more vigilant.
The Philippine Red Cross Rizal Chapter Taguig City Branch distributed hot meals and face masks to 127 individuals currently staying at Taguig Integrated School after the fire incident in Rodriguez Compound, Brgy. Sta Ana, Taguig City last January 1.
LOOK: Philippine Red Cross – Laguna Chapter provided food packs to two families affected by a fire incident in Casubuan St., Brgy. San Jose, Biñan, Laguna last January 1.
Days after a fire hit Sitio Seaside, Kulambo, Lapasana in Cagayan de Oro City, families are still the Lapasan Covered Court evacuation center. PRC Misamis Oriental-CDO Chapter deployed its relief team, distributing 5 kg of rice, assorted clothing, and water bottles to each of the 27 families still staying the evacuation centers. PRC volunteers also provided first aid and blood pressure taking to the families affected.
The fire in Lapasan happened last December 29, 2022, damaging 12 houses and affecting 29 families.