Philippines: urgent appeal for emergency assistance to the displaced in Mindanao

12 January 2012

This sick, old woman has no family and barely escaped the floodwaters through the help of neighbours who carried her across rising waters to this evacuation center in Barangay Pagatpat, Cagayan de Oro. (Photo by Louie Bacomo/ JRS Asia Pacific)

Mindanao, 12 January 2012 – Just days before Christmas, more than 100,000 families’ holiday season and hopes for the new year were washed away with the flash flood that struck the northern coast of Mindanao, Philippines.

A month later, this tropical storm Washi (or Sendong in the Philippines) has left the country devastated, with more than 1,200 dead and many more missing.

“My wife and I clung to a tree as we watched a big log sweep our house away”, said Rolando Wabe when JRS visited him in Barangay Canitoan evacuation centre.

The storm also destroyed more than 10,000 houses and displaced more than 300,000 people, mainly in the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro. About 176 people are still missing, the latest UN situation report showed.

JRS has conducted a rapid needs assessment and is committed to working with those who are not being assisted by other NGOs.

But we need your help.

While JRS staff in the Philippines are doing their best, they cannot do it alone. JRS needs international assistance to address the needs of the thousands displaced. It will take time for people to start their lives again and begin to live normally.

With only $600 US a family will have all the supplies they need to build their own temporary shelter. Families will also begin new livelihoods and educations.

“Distribution of aid remains insufficient and inequitable; the focus must shift from (evacuation centres) to the displaced outside of (evacuation centres), host communities and people in remote and isolated areas”, one UN report said.

“We want to relocate to a safer place”, pleaded a woman whose home had been totally washed away in Iponan, another barangay (village) outside the city, and is now staying on Church grounds.

In the following months families will begin leaving evacuation centres and building temporary shelters until they can move somewhere more permanent. With your help, these families will live in a safe place and will be one step closer to having a home.

“While it’s good (at these evacuation centres) because they can get food from visiting groups, they have asked if they could be assisted in building temporary shelters”, said a village chief.

What you can do to help

Because JRS’ mission is to serve those on the fringes of humanity, JRS is dedicated to properly serving displaced communities. JRS welcomes those who want to express their solidarity with the affected displaced people in Mindanao. You can express your solidarity through:

  • Providing a cash donation
  • Providing transport
  • Sending volunteers

Money can be transferred to our bank account:

Account name:  Jesuit Refugee Service
Bank:  Bangkok Bank (Soi Aree Branch)
Bank address:  404/9 Phaholyothin Road, Bangkok 10400, THAILAND
Swift Code (sort code):  BKKBTHBK
Account Number (USD):  840-127-0017651738-001
Account Number (Euro):  978-127-0017651738-002
Account Number (THB):  127 03 4044-9
(NB: no ABA, IBAN code)

Thank you for your support and we hope that these families can return to their homes as soon as possible.

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