Oxfam eyes 100,000 hygiene kits for disaster-hit areas


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In addition, Oxfam Philippines intends to set up at least 100 handwashing stations in northern Cebu

HOMES DESTROYED. Damaged in neighboring Northern Cebu town San Remegio. Photo by Jon Cabiles

MANILA, Philippines – Oxfam Philippines is targeting the distribution of 100,000 hygiene kits and the setting up of at least 100 handwashing stations in areas badly battered by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

Tata Abella-Bolo, Oxfam relief worker who was deployed in northern Cebu said that the municipality of Daanbantayan was left with severed power lines, thus affecting the town’s water systems. Daanbantayan lies in the northernmost tip of mainland Cebu where Yolanda made its 3rd landfall.

“The scene is one of utter devastation. There is no electricity in the entire area and no water. Local emergency food stocks have been distributed but stocks are dwindling. The immediate need is for water, both for drinking and cleaning,” Bolo said in an earlier Oxfam report.

Significant structural damage was sustained by the town’s municipal hall, cultural center, and town plaza. An estimated 19,000 homes were totally destroyed with around 600 more partially damaged. 

“The LGU [local govenment unit] is saying that there are around 3 or 4 most vulnerable barangays. We are looking into addressing those,” Bolo said.

Oxfam operations are concentrated on their WASH program, which provides water sanitation, and hygiene relief efforts to disaster-hit communities. In the coming weeks they will also be working to restore broken water systems.

Daanbantayan is comprised of 20 barangays, 16 of which are costal, 2 are island, and 2 inland. The 2010 census reported that it is home to 74,897people.

Because of the lack of communication lines and power in the area, Bolo and the rest of the Oxfam emergency team are based in Cebu City but they make the daily commute to the northern part of Cebu to mobilize operations as soon as possible. The commute is 3-hour travel one way on land plus two hours crossing from the island.

The Oxfam relief teams were deployed as early as Saturday, November 9, to begin their assessment phase and help provide what survivors badly needed.

On Sunday, Bolo and her team, along with a WASH expert, did a technical assessment of the municipality’s water systems. On Wednesday they found out that hygiene kits would be distributed in the area, but mobilization efforts were hampered by delays in communication and logistics.

The whole of Daanbantayan has no cell signal and only certain areas like Santa Fe in neighboring Bantayan Island started receiving cell signals on Monday, November 11.

Bolo stressed that proper coordination must be done with the LGU prior to the distribution of aid to make sure that the relief goods go to the right people. On Friday, November 15, 700 hygiene kits will be distributed to Barangay Paypay by the Oxfam team, volunteers and local government officials. On Wednesday the team got word that 3,000 more kits are on standby. Bolo said they have yet to be informed where these will be sent.

The people in Daanbantayan are in dire need of water, food and medicine, Oxfam relief workers said. – Michaela Romulo/ Rappler.com 

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