During Christmas 2012, AAI staff in the Philippines in partnership with IPI Foundation of Davao delievered relief supplies to more than 1,250 families in typhoon-devastated Compostela Valley near Davao in the Philippines. The scale of tragedy here makes other flooded areas like in New Jersey pale in comparison. There are no government agencies like FEMA to assist, no private insurance to cover people’s destroyed homes and people currently in danger of starving to death. Bodies are still being covered by mud and rock slides... thousands of homes and hundreds of thousands of square miles of farmland are destroyed.
Our gratitude to Yolanda Stern in California and our relief partners from IPI Corporation and Foundation in Cebu & Davao for their big hearts and their staff's courage. On Christmas Day, AAI’s 5 member Christian and Muslim team of volunteers drove 12 hours in AAI nurse Ralph Samson’s car from Iligan in western Mindanao to perform the best we could offer. Our financial support came from Americares, International Relief Teams and Global Giving’s myriad private donors. We also used the last of our water purification tablets from Medentech in Ireland. We, like all other agencies, are ovewrwhelmed by the scope of the tragedy. We could only feed a small percentage of those families in need. Much support is still needed.
Our targeted survivors of Typhoon Pablo were in the rural Municipality of New Bataan, Province of Compostela Valley New Bataan, one of the most devastated districts hit by the 100 mph winds of the recent super typhoon last December 3-6, 2012. According to the local Municipal Social Works and Development office, in that District alone there are more than 27,000 individuals suffering... and more than 900 corpses recovered with hundreds more people missing. Relief teams are still counting dead decomposing bodies beneath the rocky and muddy soil during retrieval operations by the Philippine Army.
In the village of Barangay Andap, all houses were swept away by flood water away including the 12 buildings of elementary and high schools… all areas were covered with large stones and uprooted trees. The road and bridges were also destroyed due to heavy currents of water even up to now and making relief operations more difficult.
We found that the TOP 3 most needed supplies in the area are FOOD, WATER, and CLOTHING. Equally important, supplies of MEDICINES such anti-pyretic (anti-fever), antibiotics, anti-diarrheal, anti-cough and colds, cardiac drugs for hypertensive patients, anti-asthma, and anti-leptospirosis and among others are also badly needed to address many medical, sanitation and clean water concerns. Minor surgery and wound care MEDICAL SUPPLIES are also needed for some patients who are suffering from cuts, injuries and abrasions that risk serious infection. Diseases and epidemics are also a threat.
AAI will continue relief operations through the months of January and February. All contributions are welcome.
LANAO DEL SUR, PHILIPPINES December 18-21, 2012
In BUBONG RAMAIN, LANAO DEL SUR, PHILIPPINES more than 5,300 families or 30,000 people are severely affected by the recent Typhoon Pablo that Mindanao last December 3-6, 2012. According to the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), lifelines available such as communication, electricity, water, bridges and roads are broken. The newly constructed water irrigation system by the Provincial Government was also destroyed due to heavy and large volume of water flooded villages during the wrath of Typhoon Pablo in the area. Millions of dollars in agricultural products were damaged including unharvested rice and corn.
On December 18 through 21, Asia America Initiative backed by Global Giving donors conducted the first emergency food and medical relief in isolated communities in Lao del Sur Province. To our surprise, Asia America Initiative-was told by hundreds of desperate villagers that AAI was the first and the only NGO who visited and distributed relief goods to the people. The precarious journey on washed-out roads and broken bridges required partnership action between AAI and the 103rd Brigade, Philippine Army, who provided strong soldiers and a large cargo truck to carry the multiple tons of relief supplies. AAi staff and our college student volunteers delivered close to 1,000 5-kilo bags of rice, 250 family-size hygiene kits that included soap, towels, toothpaste and blankets. Medicines we previously shipped were distributed to 1,000 families in the village of Pantar, Bubong. The mission was jeopardized by continuous rain, the AAI team and the Philippines Army struggled to transport the relief goods due to slippery, weak and narrow roads. An accident occurred when a massive 6x6 army truck slid off a narrow bridge and into a flooded ditch. Fortunately no one was injured but it took a rescue truck with steel cables from a private company from the city of Marawi to pull the army truck out of the mud.
The AAI relief teams, backed by student volunteers and local soldiers demonstrate what people of varied backgrounds – Christians and Muslims -- can achieve when working together. Better living conditions can be built by positive action, if people of different faiths and languages and clans bond together as one human family.
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