MANDALUYONG, METRO MANILA – Volunteers and staff of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) continue to aid families affected by the low pressure area (LPA) and the shearline that brought incessant rains over the weekend in the eastern sections of Visayas and Luzon.
The PRC – Northern Samar Chapter served hot meals to 153 individuals and set up a welfare desk and first aid station at the Polangi Evacuation Center to provide physical and mental medical attention to evacuees. In Quezon Lucena, the PRC’s first aid station monitored the blood pressure of 38 evacuees, while the PRC’s welfare desk provided psychological first aid (PFA) and facilitated child-friendly spaces for over 100 individuals.
Provision of food, water, PFA, and basic medical care constitute the standard response and rescue efforts of the PRC to reinstate evacuees’ access to essential necessities amid disruptions.
According to PRC Chairman and CEO Dick Gordon, terrains and other areas in the affected regions are susceptible to landslides and mudslides due to the saturated soil caused by heavy rainfall. “Our payloaders are positioned for clearing operations, ensuring continuous assistance to geographically isolated areas,” he added.
As of writing, there are 12 evacuation centers in Northern Samar, Western Samar, and Masbate housing 1,460 individuals.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) joined the World Mental Health Day (WMHD) Celebration on 10 October by organizing training events for staff and volunteers on Psychological First Aid (PFA) across its chapters nationwide. WMHD’s thrust is to raise awareness about mental health issues.
“We have trained staff and volunteers who provide psychosocial support to people affected by disasters. We are continually training more, so that people will have this needed support available in case a disaster strikes, especially because the Philippines is disaster-prone,” said PRC Chairman and CEO Dick Gordon.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), PFA involves humane, supportive and practical help to fellow human beings suffering serious crisis events. PFA is part of PRC’s package of services provided to people affected by fire, typhoons, earthquakes, armed conflict, and other crises. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the PRC operated the national, toll-free COVID-19 Hotline 1158 dedicated to providing callers with PFA. In the aftermath of a crisis event, the PRC sets up child-friendly spaces where trained staff and volunteers facilitate activities for children designed as PFA.
“The PRC interventions in mental health aim to equip community-based volunteers to be able to provide support to people who experience a crisis. It aims to raise awareness of mental health issues and the services available,” Dr. Gwen Pang, secretary-general of the PRC, added.
A scientific brief published by WHO in March 2022 says that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on the mental health and wellbeing of people around the world.
Heavy rainfall and consequent flooding brought by Severe Tropical Storm Paeng (international name: Nalgae) left communities in Laguna without access to clean safe water aside from the massive cleanup required to clear roads of mud and other debris. The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) deployed its water tankers and payloaders to these affected localities to speed up the recovery of the most vulnerable.
“Ang Philippine Red Cross ay katuwang ng ating mga komunidad hindi lang sa kasagsagan ng bagyo kung hindi pati na rin pagkatapos nito. Ipagpapatuloy namin, sa PRC, ang pagde-deploy ng water tankers at payloader para mas maraming komunidad sa malalayong lugar ang maabutan ng ating mga tulong,” Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon explained.
Since PRC Paeng operations, the PRC WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) unit had distributed a total of 286, 300 liters to storm-affected areas in Laguna. PRC installed a water bladder in Alonte Arena Evacuation Center Biñan, Laguna, providing 20, 000 liters of water to 731 displaced individuals. Meanwhile, 2, 868 persons from Dela Paz Main Elementary School and Saint Francis Covered Court evacuation centers received 24, 000 liters of water from water tankers. Biñan City was placed under a state
of calamity on 31 October due to extensive damage caused by STS Paeng.
In addition, PRC’s payloader conducted clearing operations in Canossa School, Barangay Kanluran Santa Rosa, Laguna to make roads accessible for more relief operations. Over 210 cubic meters of mud were cleared in the area.
On 15 November, PRC served hot meals and bread to 511 persons in the Barangay Dila evacuation center. PRC distributed sleeping kits to 40 families and hygiene kits to 192 families in several affected municipalities. PRC Welfare Services, under the Psychological Support System (PSP), provided psychosocial services to 47 persons and Child-friendly Spaces (CFS) to accommodate the needs of 136 affected children.
PRC is in full-blast in providing assistance to Paeng-affected families across the country and vows to continue its relief and recovery efforts to alleviate the sufferings of the most vulnerable.
Philippine Red Cross (PRC) volunteers and staff continue aid efforts in Datu Odin Sinuat (DOS), Maguindanao, which is among those hardest hit by Severe Tropical Storm (STS) Paeng (international name: Nalgae).
Together with Australian Aid, PRC distributed sleeping kits and hygiene kits to 425 individuals in Barangay Awang, DOS yesterday. Two plastic mats, two mosquito nets, and two blankets comprise each sleeping kit. A hygiene kit is composed of 12 body soaps, five laundry soaps, 40 sanitary pads, five bath towels, toilet papers, toothbrushes, two toothpaste tubes, and razors.
“In every calamity, the Red Cross is there to help our fellow Filipinos for the long haul. We will be with our fellow Filipinos who have been severely affected by Severe Tropical Storm Paeng until they fully recover from its effects. We are always ready to reach the farthest communities to bring them aid,” said PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon.
Also yesterday in DOS, the foremost humanitarian organization served hot meals to 803 persons in Barangay Dinaig and distributed 10,000 liters of water through its water tanker in Barangay Bagumbayan.
PRC volunteers and staff have responded to Paeng-affected communities across the country since 28 October by providing emergency rescue and evacuation, shelter strengthening kits, emergency medical services, road clearing, health care information and supplies, hot meals and food items, water, clothes, slippers, psychological first aid, sleeping kits, and hygiene kits.
With a diameter of over 1,000 kilometers, Paeng battered the country with torrential rains for around two days, 28-29 October, causing flash floods and landslides that damaged thousands of homes and destroyed tens of thousands of farms and fishing gear.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) yesterday delivered 150 CGI (corrugated galvanized iron) sheets and 10 plain sheets for Burdeos National High School, which was damaged as Super Typhoon Karding made its first landfall in Burdeos, Quezon, 25 September.
This fulfills the directive of PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon to focus recovery activities on schools and livelihood of famers and fisherfolk affected by the typhoon.
In Barangay Bonbon, Panukulan, Quezon, trained PRC staff and volunteers also facilitated child-friendly activities designed as psychological first aid (PFA) for 171 boys and girls. Thirty-eight men and women also availed themselves of PFA.
The PRC team prepositioned non-food items in Polillo Island consisting of 320 hygiene kits, 200 tarpaulins, 360 10-liter jerry cans, and three 20-kilo sacks of rice for distribution to the most vulnerable households.
PRC teams also distributed beneficiary cards in Barangays Umiray and Matawe in Dingalan, Aurora in preparation for aid distribution, made a courtesy call to the local government of General Tinio, Nueva Ecija, and assessed damage and needs in Barangays Nazareth and Pias in General Tinio.
As of 8:00 am today, 4 October 2022, PRC has reached at least 19 provinces and cities with humanitarian aid: Aurora, Bulacan, Laguna, Lucena City, Mandaluyong City, Manila City, Marikina City, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Olongapo City, Pampanga, Pasig City, Pateros, Quezon City, Quezon province, Rizal, Romblon, Tarlac, and Valenzuela City. PRC provided the following humanitarian aid: hot meals (4,799 individuals), bread and other food items (1,824 families), masks (2,427 pieces), psychological first aid (425 men and women), psychological first aid for children (409 boys and girls), hygiene lecture-demonstrations (54 persons), first aid (7 individuals), assisting people to evacuate (54), clearing of debris (Barangay Antutot, Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya), flushing/clearing (two Marikina schools), and CGI/plain sheets (160 pieces).
Five days after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit North Luzon, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) immediately provided a Child-Friendly Space, where over 90 children participated in different activities designed as psychological first aid (PFA), such as a clowns’ and magicians’ show, in the municipality of Santa, Ilocos Sur, August 1. Overall, 323 children received PFA in Ilocos Sur.
“Bukod sa mga nasirang kabahayan at kabuhayan ng ating mga kababayan, naapektuhan din ang ating mga kabataan dahil nanatili sa kanila ang takot dulot ng malakas na lindol. Laging handa ang trained volunteers and staff ng Red Cross upang tulungan ang ating mga kabataan sa aspetong ito ng kanilang kalusugan,” Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon said.
Aside from the Child-Friendly Space, the PRC distributed hygiene kits and 10,000 liters of water to 103 families or 317 individuals in Santa, served hot meals to 350 persons, and provided health services to 67. To protect the community against COVID-19, the PRC also distributed 800 face masks and 50 pieces of COVID-19 leaflets.
Present during the distribution of services in Santa were Mayor Jesus Bueno Jr., Barangay Tabucolan Captain Armando Baguyo, and personnel from the Social Welfare and Development Office, Philippine National Police, and Bureau of Fire Protection.
The PRC continues to provide other much-needed aid to people affected by the earthquake in Abra and Ilocos Sur, the hardest hit provinces. As of August 1, it has distributed 148,649 liters of water through its water tankers, 6,155 hot meals, 2,341 face masks, 1,250 COVID-19 leaflets, 868 hygiene kits, 662 packs of bread, 264 sleeping kits, and 33 tents, among other humanitarian aid.
“Tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang ating pagtulong sa ating mga kababayan sa Abra at Ilocos Sur, na syang lubos na naapektuhan ng lindol at aftershocks nito. Laging maaasahan ang Red Cross sa ganitong uri ng sakuna,” Chairman Gordon assured.