SAN PABLO City, August 20, 2012—A US-based international relief service agency in coordination with the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has distributed some Php750,000 worth of non-food item kits to 500 flood victims in Laguna on August 16 and 17.
The Catholic Relief Services (CRS), a relief and development agency of the United States Conference of the Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has distributed relief goods to every family of the evacuees during the “Operation Lingap Habagat” project on August 16.
Relief goods included items like: 1 piece 20 Liter Jerry Can, 1 piece 16 liter Pail with cover,1 piece sleeping mat, 3 pieces blankets, 10 pieces bathing soap (135 gm), 4 long bars laundry soap (480 gm), 4 pieces tooth brush, 2 pieces tooth paste (150 ml), 1 pack napkin, and 5 pieces towels.
The same activity also took place in Victoria town on morning of August 17 according to the CRS personnel.
Some 200 target beneficiaries, they said, were given the non-food item kits with similar contents as the one made in Sta. Cruz earlier.
The donations given to each family, each pack worth about Php1,500 is estimated to last for one month, according to Ma. Emily “Nikki” De Vera, Deputy Program Manager for Emergency.
She said this is only their initial round of donating goods to the flood victims in Laguna. Once the next project proposal is approved their staff in the fields and counterparts in the Catholic Churches would be mapping out more flood victims in the province to identify those who needed aids the most for the next schedule of “Operation Lingap Habagat”.
Maria Josephine Wijiastoti of CRS Indonesia who was among the about 10-crew members helping distribute and supervise the operation, said a process of assessment, identification of the appropriate beneficiaries who needed immediate support with emergency relief items were done before the actual distribution was made.
She said her CRS group in Indonesia and the Philippines in partnership with CBCP NASSA have worked together with the local parishes in helping them identify the target beneficiaries without discrimination in terms of religion, political affiliations or race.
Wijiastoti who was with the group who helped Sendong victims in Cagayan de Oro said, prior to the distribution process, the group explained to the evacuee beneficiaries proper steps about hygiene, awareness on Leptospirosis and how to prevent it and the like. They were also taught on the proper way of hand washing.
She said the 300 beneficiaries in Sta. Cruz came from 4 barangays affected by the floods.
The main donor of the goods, according to the organizers is the USAID (United States Agency for International Development).
Submerged in flood waters
As of August 13, there are 19 out of the 30 towns in Laguna submerged by flood waters which affected 171 barangays, 68,950 families and 299, 209 individuals, according to the Provincial Social Welfare and Development (PSWD) in Laguna.
Roseller Gabinete, Office of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development (OPSWD) said in a telephone interview that their office is still updating their data and they are yet to validate figures.
He said Siniloan town was the latest addition of municipalities flooded with waters hence, the total number of towns is now raised from 18 to 19.
Ernesto M. Montecillo, PSWD head reported that to date there are three casualties who drowned and five were injured due to the inundated rivers and lake of Laguna.
The casualties were identified as Alberto Madarang, Sr., 83 of Calamba City; Christian Jay Bellista, 17 also of Calamba City and Christian Curiano, 3 of Dulong Wawa, Malaban, Binan City.
Montecillo reported that all the five injured victims were residents of Bay, Laguna.
Some 90 houses were totally damaged and 652 houses partially damaged in Laguna by the floods.
Monstrous traffic clog the town center as the town plaza fronting the municipal town hall has been converted into a public market.
The actual public market and downtown commercial center is still submerged in deep flood waters spawned by monsoon rains few days back.
In a separate interview, Itchie Valdellon, 46 a resident of Paete, Laguna said that although waters have subsided a bit her family still live in discomfort as their house is still submerged in few inches deep filthy waters.
She said, today’s floods spawned by monsoon rains is worse than Ondoy’s because during that time the water level inside their house was only just a few inches from her feet but today its knee-deep.
Rhea Maano, 38 also of Paete said, they have a problem evacuating to schools and church areas as most of the evacuation centers are still overcrowded even though the rains have already stopped. (Fr. Romy Ponte)
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