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Christian Aid has released emergency funds to local partner organisations to provide essential food and basic household items such as sleeping mats, blankets, and buckets for vulnerable families affected by recent floods in the aftermath of Typhoons Utor and Trami and severe monsoon rains.
Over 3.4 million people in 247 municipalities have been affected after five days of heavy, incessant rains flooded entire villages. The capital, Metro Manila, was 70 per cent submerged at the height of the bad weather. Thirty-eight people have been killed, over 3,000 houses destroyed and harvest-ready crops including corn and vegetables swept away in rural Aurora, leaving many people without income or food.
The severe flooding in Metro Manila and adjoining provinces across Luzon was caused by monsoon rains that were intensified by Typhoons Utor and Trami. Utor crossed and damaged provinces in Northern Luzon while Trami, which hit a week later on 18 August, struck the northernmost Batanes Island and remained stationary there for several days, bringing the equivalent of a month’s rainfall.
While government and humanitarian organisations are responding to people’s emergency needs, the scale of the disaster and the full extent of needs are still not known. Families are starting to return to their homes but many areas are still submerged in flood waters, with many people unable to work.
Attention is now focused on providing relief to thousands of families who have lost their livelihoods, particularly in the high-risk Pacific-facing province of Aurora.
Assistance for poor families whose livelihoods have been destroyed by the floods is a top priority in the coming months.
Christian Aid local partner organisations Partnership of Philippine Support Service Agencies (PHILSSA), CO-Multiversity (COM) and Centre for Disaster Preparedness (CDP) are providing emergency assistance to 3,000 families affected by Typhoon Trami in Quezon City, Manila, Rizal and Laguna Provinces. They are supplying basic household items, as well as cash grants that can be used for food, emergency shelter materials, medical items, and other basic needs.
The Social Action Center-Northern Quezon (SAC-NQ) is providing early recovery assistance to communities in Aurora affected by Typhoon Utor. Cash grants are also being provided to families, such as urban poor and fishing communities, to rebuild their livelihoods and homes.
Alwynn Javier, Christian Aid’s Resilience Officer for Southeast Asia, said: 'Many communities where Christian Aid and partner organisations have carried out disaster risk reduction work in previous years have demonstrated the benefits of being prepared and resilient.
'Community-based groups such as Buklod TAO in San Mateo, Damayan in Taytay, and the Barangay Emergency Response Team (BERT) in Binan all played important roles in early warning, evacuation and relief efforts in their own communities. They proved that, if given the opportunity and knowledge, community members are best positioned to respond or get government resources for their immediate needs.
'Aside from urgent relief needs, people are in dire need of support to restore their livelihoods. We need to provide humanitarian assistance that also addresses lost livelihood opportunities, food security and making communities more resilient to disasters and climate change.'