The Philippine Red Cross(PRC) appealed for humanitarian aid to help the more than 500,000 people affected by Typhoon Vinta (Tembin), which hit 23 provinces in the Philippines before Christmas day.
PRC Chairman Richard Gordon made the appeal as figures on the number of deaths and missing people from the flashfloods and landslides that struck parts of Mindanao continue to rise in the wake of ‘Vinta’.
“Rural communities, which are in remote mountainous areas, are the hardest hit. Some villages are swept away by surging current of mud and water. We’re really in our toes right now. We’re trying to figure out how to bring our help closer to our people who are suffering right now” Gordon said.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Monday reported at least 164 people dead, while 171 remain missing. Majority of which are due to flashfloods and mudslides in the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte, Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur. Verification and validation from local government authorities are still ongoing.
“The focus at the moment is to find those who are still missing and to alleviate the suffering of those who survived. Slowly but surely, you can be sure the Red Cross will continue to be there for the people affected,” he said.
Gordon said the PRC will be immediately distributing P3,000 cash grants to 1,500 families from worst-hit communities. The priority will be the most vulnerable such as those who lost a family member and single parents.
“This is the fastest way we can bring assistance to our people. People are hungry before, now they are hungrier because of the typhoon. We want to give hope again to our people,” he added.
The PRC through the support of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) will be distributing 1,000 non-food items in the coming days.
He added that more water tankers would be sent to provide clean water to the affected communities.
Those with missing family members would also be assisted through PRC’s Restoring Family Links Program
PRC volunteers and staff have been active on the ground providing round-the-clock humanitarian assistance even before the storm made landfall and during Christmas day.
So far, it already provided hot meals to 5,039 individuals and psychosocial support to 1,728.
PRC emergency responders also rescued 339 peopleand distributed 108,000 liters of water.
So far, the Qatar Red Crescent Society has responded to PRC’s appeal and donated P14-million ($280,000) for the provision of additional food items, non-food items, water, sanitation and emergency shelter.
The Manila Bulletin also donated P1 million to support PRC’s ongoing emergency and relief operations.
The Philippine Red Cross, as the foremost humanitarian organization in the country, has 103 chapters with two million volunteers nationwide.
Aside from disaster responses, PRC’s services include health, welfare, safety, blood, volunteer service, and Red Cross youth.