500 volunteers from Mindanao to help in relief, rehabilitation ops
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Some 500 volunteers from various Mindanao areas—including doctors, nurses, psychosocial therapists – set-off from here for areas devastated by “supertyphoon Yolanda” (international name Haiyan) on Thursday.
Working under the Mindanao Caravan Relief Outreach for Victims of Typhoon Yolanda, the volunteers said they would like to show their deepest solidarity to those in Leyte and other Visayas areas and provide much-needed medical and other services to the survivors of the devastating typhoon.
Francis Morales of Balsa Mindanao said during the send-off ceremony and liturgy program held at the Freedom Park here that the volunteers from Davao, General Santos City, Kidapawan, Cotabato City, Butuan, Surigao, Agusan, Dipolog, Iligan and Zamboanga also “embarked on a mission to bring Mindanaons’ survivors’ spirit to “Yolanda” survivors.
The people of Mindanao have become an example of resilience as they lived through a series of disasters, most of which man-made.
Morales said the people of the island also wanted to show to Yolanda victims opportunities to regain things lost in each tragedy as in the cases of typhoons Sendong and Pablo victims.
Months after the devastation wrought by the two cyclones, the people of northern and southern Mindanao have started regaining their lost livelihoods and many of them have resettled in their old homes, although some of it have yet to be fully rebuilt.
As this developed, the Habitat for Humanity Philippines has appealed “to benevolent hardware owners and individuals or groups to donate more shelter repair kits” for Yolanda victims.
Dolly Santos-Serranillo, resource manager of Habitat in Davao and Caraga regions, said the organization has already started distributing repair kits to Yolanda hit-areas in Visayas but tens of thousands of people still need shelter.
“Shelter is one of the three basic needs of humanity aside from food and clothing,” Serranillo said.
She said Habitat was concerned that there were many homeless victims — especially the women and children — as they become more vulnerable to acts of lawlessness.
“That is our advocacy because we are thinking of the protection of the victims particularly women and children who are vulnerable to criminal activities like rape or sexual harassment,” Serranillo said.
Serranillo said Habitat would accept donations such as corrugated GI sheets, plain sheets, hammer, umbrella nails, handsaw or flexiboards.
She said they have targeted to build 10,000 houses for families whose houses were destroyed, and distribute shelter repair kits for those whose houses can still be repaired.
The organization would also distribute 50,000 cleaning kits for the survivors, Serranillo said.
Aside from building or repairing shelters, Serranillo said Habitat has also partnered with Biosand Filters Philippines (BFP) for the installation of water stations in Yolanda devastated areas.
Each water station could serve a thousand individuals, according to Darrel Nelson, BFP chief executive officer.
Initially, six water stations will be installed in Ormoc City, one of the hardest hit areas by Yolanda, according to Serranillo.
She said Habitat also sent volunteers to the other Yolanda-hit areas of Leyte, Cebu, Palawan to assess and identify the areas to install the water stations in.
“Habitat is working closely also with the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the local government units of the Yolanda-hit areas in relation to the identification of the beneficiaries,” Serranillos said.
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