In Mindanao, Philippines, Conditions in the Camps are Dire

Flooded neighborhood. Photo by Ryan Russell/CRSA flooded neighborhood. Photo by Ryan Russell/CRS

Ryan Russell, CRS’ regional technical advisor for emergencies in the Asia Pacific region, wrote from Mindanao, Philippines, where he is working with staff and partners to carry out emergency relief for thousands of families who have been uprooted and devastated by Typhoon Frank:

In Mindanao, conditions in the camps are dire, with 12 to 15 families (up to 90 people) taking shelter in each classroom, and abysmal sanitation, sometimes none at all. While people are making their way home, there are still around 4,500 families whose homes are underwater, and it is not clear when they will be able to go back. It could be a few weeks or months since some major dikes and dams broke, and rivers have changed course.

For those going home, most have lost the crops they had just planted. Many were already having difficulties feeding their families and were dependent on government-subsized food, all brought on the last few months by a doubling in food prices, such as rice.

People are desperately in need of seed and tools if they are going to be able to feed their families down the road. Most took loans to plant what they just lost at an interest rate of 10 percent a month, and will still have to pay that back. A lot of the fields are covered in mud and sand, which will take weeks or months to repair before planting can occur.

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One Response to “In Mindanao, Philippines, Conditions in the Camps are Dire”

  1. Cheerie Magalit Says:

    Many places in the Philippines have been devastated by typhoon Frank with varying severity. Some have been given full media attention and help, others have been left out in the sidelines. One such place is my home province of Aklan, one of the six in Western Visayas, particularly the towns of Numancia and Kalibo. After five hours of driving rain and merciless wind, the Aklan river overflowed and inundated several towns. My brother and his family had to spend the night on the ceiling of their house not knowing when their house will give in. This is pretty much the story of most families. Those who were not lucky enough, perished. Nobody was spared. Everyone in the flooded areas lost all their belongings that they have worked so hard to accumulate all these years. The flood left the town of Kalibo littered with debris and dead bodies. The Provincial Capitol and the recently renovated Aklan Provincial Hospital was also indundated, damaging the new million dollar CAT scan machine. As of this writing only a few businesses are open and telephone and electrical lines are still down. As my sister-in-law puts it, “This flood totally changed the landscape of Aklan” as it has completely obliterated some areas. As of the National Disaster Coordinating Council’s report on June 28, between Kalibo and Numancia alone, about 100,000 people were affected and for the whole province of Aklan the total count was 414,000. Rice fields and rice storage areas were destroyed and livestocks were lost. There is a dire need for help in this province. People are starving. Help comes in trickles as other places are given more attention. Please visit Aklan and see the severity of the situation. I am trying to collect money through the CRS specifically for Aklan. I just want to make sure that people there get the much needed aid.

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