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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