Almost three weeks after super typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan fiercely struck the Visayas region in the Philippines, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), as of 6am of 27 November 2013, reports the number of casualties at 5,500, the injured at 26,136 and the missing persons at 1,757. Affected communities are in nine regions, 44 provinces and 574 municipalities, 57 cities, and 11,939 barangays.
After near total information blackout from when Yolanda hit land, PRRM commenced its quick response on 10 November by issuing a call for help to its own family (staff and members) and closest local and international partners, and then to the general public. Immediately, PRRM Team Yolanda was set up to lead the operations.
The PRRM headquarters in Quezon City has been a center of communications and relief operations from day one. Relief items from individual and institutional donors are being collected, received and repacked for delivery to affected areas, particularly those other hard-hit ones away from the focus of attention of government and media.
Here’s where we’re at now.
Together with government agencies, civic organizations, local and international non-government organizations, PRRM and partners have been undertaking community needs assessment and/or relief operations in seven provinces in three regions, namely:
Region VI (Western Visayas), where assessments have been used as basis for the selection of beneficiaries for relief and early recovery operations:
Region VII (Central Visayas)
Region VIII (Eastern Visayas), where assessments are ongoing
In Aklan and Capiz, PRRM is the partner of the Welthungerhilfe (WHH) in conducting the damage and needs assessment in eight towns in Aklan and five towns in Capiz, and canvassing and procurement of relief and early recovery goods from the local markets in Iloilo City. Since 15 November, a PRRM-WHH team has been deployed and now with headquarters in Roxas City, coordinating with local stakeholders – non-government organizations (NGOs), governors and mayors, local disaster risk reduction and management councils (DRRMCs), national government agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Red Cross, and international bodies such as the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA). The team is preparing for the provision of shelter assistance.
The PRRM-WHH joint plan at the moment is to procure and deliver temporary shelter materials (e.g., tarpaulin, nails, wires, tools) to a target 5,000 families in the towns of Balete in Aklan and Pilar in Capiz. WHH has also flown in 84 units of water filters in Roxas City for distribution.
In northern Iloilo, PRRM and its partner Association of Medical Doctors of Asia (AMDA) distributed food, shelter materials, children’s toys and WASH items to 300 families in the towns of Carles and San Dionisio. AMDA and local volunteer doctors provided basic medical assistance in these towns. More coastal towns in the northeastern side of the province have similar needs, despite the fact that these are being addressed to a limited extent by local government units (LGUs) and local and foreign donors. In particular, the fishing communities in the town of Estancia are additionally constrained by the effects of the oil spill accident caused when a National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) barge was damaged after typhoon Yolanda hit the coasts.
PRRM Negros came out with the first comprehensive field assessment on which were based actual site visits. AMDA did an ocular assessment in Cadiz City in Negros Occidental. PRRM is helping AMDA prepare for the delivery of an initial batch of 125 units of solar lamps/chargers to Negros Occidental, Cebu and Leyte. PRRM Negros Occidental office in Bacolod will receive the units. In Cebu, through Marie Lisa Dacanay, President of the Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia (ISEA), PRRM linked with Ms. Tressa Dosdos Ruellas for solar lamp distribution and mobilization of support in Cebu.
In Negros Occidental, PRRM immediately joined local partner NGOs and POs as secretariat of the Western Visayas Network of NGOs (WeVNet) in collecting and distributing relief goods to affected communities in the cities of Cadiz and Sagay in the northern part of the province.
PRRM long-time partner People to People Aid Movement (P2) was also quick to help. P2 President Perry Ono sent USD3,000 as initial P2 contribution.
Other organizations such as the Alianza por la Solidaridad, an alliance of international NGOs, have also partnered with PRRM to contribute to the relief efforts. The Italy-based Gruppo di Volontariato Civile (GVC) quickly contacted PRRM and on 25 November, its representative joined the PRRM team in the damage and needs assessment mission in Eastern Samar where typhoon Yolanda made its first landfall. An assessment report is being prepared by the team to be used as a basis for relief and reconstruction.
Other individuals and groups, both domestic and overseas, who have gotten in touch with PRRM to offer their assistance: Traveling Bonfires, Team Comforters and Friends from the Netherlands.
The PRRM National Office has so far collected over PHP50,000 and USD400 in cash and 70 boxes (more than 1,000 kilograms) of food, water and clothes donated by PRRM family and friends for distribution to Negros Occidental and Eastern Samar communities. Arrangements have been made for transportation of these donations to the affected communities and families in these provinces.
All contributions, big and small, from the PRRM family and friends, from our local and international partners and donors are greatly appreciated. We will take full account of them.
We continue our appeal for more support for the affected communities in their early recovery, in building back better and in reconstruction.
March 8, 2014, Cocoon Boutique Hotel
Quezon City, Philippines