MANILA, Philippines – A total of 900 families have found relief in food and clean water that World Vision Philippines distributed in Tabogon, northern Cebu, which had witnessed the destructive impact of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
On Thursday, November 14, the aid organization handed out bottled water and food items like canned goods, ready-to-eat mongo beans and high-protein food to hundreds of affected families in the area, said World Vision communications manager G. Jeff Lamigo on Friday, November 15.
World Vision is set to distribute food for families in Daanbantayan, Cebu over the weekend, by November 16-17. The selection of food the organization has given out is based on international humanitarian standards.
Aid for 80,000
World Vision plans to run relief operations that will help a total of 80,000 families across Eastern and Central Visayas. “We hope to provide the following assistance: initially, food and clean water. [Then] hygiene kits and sanitation items,” Lamigo said.
Shelter kits will be handed out as well in the future. “We have to help them rebuild themselves. We’ll provide shelter assistance,” he added.
Challenges to faster response
At the onset of the disaster, World Vision deployed 50 staff members, divided in 3 separate teams, to Cebu, Iloilo and Tacloban, which are critically hit areas. Reinforcement personnel are on standby in the organization’s command center in Cebu, which will be the current headquarters.
Relief operations in these targeted locations are running at different paces because of several challenges.
Affected areas in Cebu are more accessible. World Vision staff went to Daangbantayan and Tagubon, where almost all areas were affected based on the team’s assessment.
In Tacloban City, however, the organization’s operations have slowed and remain in the assessment phase, which is being done in coordination with the local government.
Team members deployed to Tacloban were challenged by the lack of communications in the area, blocked and impassable roads and security concerns.
“You can imagine in the first days, the problem was transport. Tacloban was inaccessible… So at that time, we took the other route, which was Cebu. From Cebu, we had to take the boat to Ormoc. Then, [from] Ormoc, to Tacloban,” Lamigo said.
“Normally, it would just take two hours to get to Tacloban. But because of road blockages there, it took the team 8 hours of riding and more walking.”
He added that some staff members had to return to base because they ran out of food supply, which had only been enough for assessment work. Ongoing relief efforts for earthquake victims in Bohol have also complicated operations.
The organization is also set to conduct relief operations in Aklan and Capiz, which had also been severely affected by the disaster. But the airport in Aklan is damaged, and so a team has been deployed to reach these areas via Iloilo.
Since the organization focuses on helping children, the next services will include child support intervention and building child-friendly spaces. These spaces will be set up in evacuation centers or in schools, and aim to provide a safe environment and psycho-social support for children.
“We are looking into how we can support children,” Lamigo said. “We know that when disaster happens, the children are the most to suffer. So we need to help them.” But for now, food and water are the immediate needs critical for their survival. – Rappler.com