Philippine projects help typhoon victims
October 2, 2009
MANILA — The three CFCA projects impacted by Typhoon Ketsana Sept. 26-27 are distributing food and water, and assessing the extent of the damage from the worst typhoon to hit the Manila area in 40 years.
High floodwaters and many impassable roads made travel difficult, according to Veron Telar-Menguito, coordinator of the Manila project. Nevertheless, she said staff members had managed to reach most CFCA communities by Sept. 28—except for the Pasig and Cainta subprojects, which were among the most damaged areas.
CFCA staff and fathers group members assisted families with evacuation
and rescuing belongings from the flood waters.
“While we can provide immediate food assistance along with the other organizations, we are also planning and strategizing on how to respond to the long-term needs of the children and families,” Telar-Menguito said. “This may include clothing, provision of school needs when classes will possibly resume by next week, rebuilding and repair of damaged homes, and livelihood assistance.”
She said the project was also planning to provide stress-coping sessions for families traumatized by the storm.
“It was so frightening listening to their stories climbing on the roof of about 15 feet high to escape from the water,” Telar-Menguito said. “Some were trapped on top for about six to 12 hours fighting cold rain and strong winds.”
In Antipolo, the coordinator of the CFCA project, Malou Navio, said on Sept. 30 her staff was trying to determine the status of about 1,000 sponsored members whom they had been unable to contact because of flooded roads and damaged communication systems. As of Oct. 2, she said CFCA staff had been able to reach all but three communities in the Antipolo region.
Navio said fathers groups were preparing meals in the CFCA kitchen to bring to children and the aging who were marooned or who were staying in small evacuation centers.
“Now we’re working with leaders to tap the association of medics at different localities to conduct medical missions to treat health concerns,” Navio said. “And we were able to get one to serve in three communities on Oct. 2, 3, and 4.”
Navio related the stories of two sponsored children whose families were affected by the storm. The 19-year-old brother of one sponsored girl was missing after he tried to save the children in a daycare center and was swept away by flood waters. The father of a sponsored boy was severely injured after being struck by a boulder while attempting to rescue two relatives buried in mud.
However, CFCA projects have reported no deaths or severe injuries among sponsored members.
At CFCA headquarters in Kansas City, Trisha Pitts, project director for the Philippines, said the Legazpi and Zamboanga projects were not affected by Typhoon Ketsana and had offered to provide financial help or workers.
“The projects are prepared for these typhoons and they know how to respond,” Pitts said. “They go into action immediately. The Antipolo project even has wooden boats stacked up outside their office. The difference with this storm is that it was so destructive and so many people were affected. We know that we will need to provide financial aid to Manila, Antipolo and Quezon.”