OPINION: Churches, local govts appeal for aid to survivors of Mindanao quakes

Inday Espina-Varona

Posted at Nov 01 2019 11:42 PM

Filipinos celebrating the feast days of souls and saints across the country and abroad can still send aid to hundreds of thousands of Mindanao families struggling in the aftermath of recent strong quakes.

Duyog Marawi, the former social action center of the Catholic diocese of Iligan that now serves war-devastated Marawi City, has swung to aid Cotabato towns near the epicenter of the big quakes that struck on Oct. 16, 29 and 31.

“We’re raising funds for 1,000 family tents and have already sent some to Makilala town,” Redemptorist Brother Rey Barnido, executive director of the organization said via messenger.

“Water is badly needed now,” Barnido added, quoting residents and local officials as saying that landslides at Barangay Nueva Vida had damaged the community’s water source. He visited Makilala on Thursday.

Barnido shared the local government’s assessment report on Friday, showing 20,700 displaced households, with almost 19,000 reporting destroyed homes and 1,700 reporting “partially damaged” residences.

The town said 6 residents died and 8 remain missing.

The government agency that monitors quakes has urged residents not to return to homes. Weakened structures can succumb to aftershocks, which continue to occur daily, some past the 4 magnitude level, according to the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and its social action center, NASSA-Caritas, have also started outreach activities in Kidapawan, also in Cotabato.

Duyog Marawi and the CBCP called for donations, providing lists of the most urgent requirements and bank accounts.

Duyug Marawi and Caritas said they would send acknowledgement receipts to donors.

CBCP President, Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, said Kidapawan Diocese was closely working with the local governments of Tulunan and M'lang.

Tents are sorely needed, said Barnido, because the quake areas are known to come under heavy rains and even strong typhoons in the year’s last quarter.

OUTREACH

Makilala is one of the 5 most-hit and -affected areas, together with Tulunan, M'lang, Kidapawan City and Matalam according to Mercy Foronda, provincial disaster risk reduction management officer.

Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday sent a team to Tulunan with tents, sleeping and food kits and water for residents.

In Cotabato City, the new regional autonomous Bangsamoro government announced it would aid areas outside of its territory, which only suffered moderate damage.

Naguib Sinarimbo, head of the region’s Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence (READi-BARMM), said they would service affected Cotabato areas starting Saturday, Nov. 2.

He said tents, water, food, hygiene kits, blankets, malong and used clothing were priorities.

HOMELESS, JOBLESS, TRAUMATIZED

In Makilala, 43-year-old salesman Joel Lim said the family home, which withstood the strong quakes of Oct. 16 and Oct. 29, finally collapsed following the 6.5-magnitude quake that hit Thursday morning.

In Kidapawan and Davao City, hotels and residential buildings also collapsed Thursday.

Police and military rescue teams got out 9 people from a collapsed Davao condo cluster and were continuing operations Friday morning, saying “sounds of life” have been detected.

Bayan Mo I-Patrol head, Rowena Paraan, who also oversees public aid, was in Magsaysay town near the Tulunan epicenter when the Thursday quake struck.

“The feeling of not having control over what will happen, that sense of helplessness, are partly what makes earthquakes worse than most calamities,” she shared in a Facebook post.

“Many of those I spoke with said they now hardly sleep, ready to bolt to safety at the slightest tremor, real or imagined,” she added.

LONG HAUL

Barnido said residents of the most affected areas would be needing aid right up to the Christmas holidays, as many businesses and offices have also suffered major damage or have been destroyed by the quakes.

The education department has also announced funding problems because of the magnitude of damages reported by schools across southern Philippines.

NASSA/Caritas Philippines's assessment team listed the following needs:

1. Temporary shelters

2. Clean drinking water

3. Food

4. Sleeping kits

5. Information on the causes and effects of aftershocks.

It shared 2 bank accounts:

Account Name: CBCP Caritas Filipinas Foundation Inc.

Account No.: 632-2-632-60023-7

Bank: Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company

SWIFT Code: MBTCPHMM

Currency: Euro


Account Name: CBCP Caritas Filipinas Foundation, Inc. - NASSA

Account Number: 4951-0071-08

Bank: Bank of the Philippine Islands

Currency: Peso

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