You may have heard of the widespread flood in the Philippines on the news. Or might have seen these tags trending on Twitter since last Monday:
#ReliefPH (for relief ops)
#RescuePH (for rescue concerns)
#FloodsPH (for general flood news).
*Please check out these tags on Twitter for more updates.
Today, I’m sharing with you a quick update of yesterday’s relief experience. I’ve encountered great people from two orgs and have decided to somewhat interview them about the relief that’s spreading across the Philippines and encourage others to join. It was a spontaneous idea, really.
I went along with my sister to donate some clothes to the nearest relief org, which is UP Diliman. I had the opportunity to talk with Alex Castro, the University Student Council Vice Representative, who is conducting a relief operation at the College of Human Kinetics (CHK Gym).
And so this was our conversation:
Can you tell me what was happening today?
We were informed yesterday that there were around a thousand families at Navotas who were hit by the storm so they are at eveacuation centres now. There were 300 around the UP Campus and 500 families at Payatas and Rizal. That’s why we called on the UP students to bring in donations and to help us re-pack so that we could deploy to these areas. So as of now our priorities are the 1000 families in Navotas and around UP Diliman.
How many volunteers do you have today?
We have around 140 volunteers today. They take shifts and most of them were deployed to go door-to-door in nearby villages to ask for donations and others were deployed to the evacuation centers.
What are the resources to you need?
Our priorities now are food, water, toiletries, blankets, cartons, canned goods, biscuits, instant noodles and bottled water.
I heard that the students are packing goods with t-shirts…
That’s a bit of resourcefulness because we ran out of plastic bags so we just wrap everything with t-shirts.
I also heard from one of the students here that you are in need of more transportation…
Yes, we need 5 or 6 cars more. Now were are tranporting it to Payatas, Quezon City area and Navotas. There were already a lot of people who signed up for transportation. But of course we need bigger cars to accomomodate all the relief packages.
The news said that this typhoon supassed Ondoy by the rainfall during this month, so will this relief operation prolong?
I think that this will carry on for about a week or 2 because from what I heard that there are more victims now than when Ondoy hit. Maybe they will suspend classes for about a week for relief operations here in UP Diliman.
What did you see today that puts hope in your heart?
Actually, I wasnt expecting as much volunteers today because we just started anouncing last night. So I was overwhelmed that 140 or more volunteers came today. I thought there were only going to be 20 or 30 volunteers. We were also able to pack around 1,100 packs of relief goods very fast. So I’m very proud of the UP students for that.
Is there anything you would like the viewers to know about the situation?
Acutally what were are doing now is like a band aid solution which is a short term solution. So we’re giving out food and resources to survive maybe a day or 2. But what the really need now are construction materials to be able to build new houses and relocation sites for people because right now they’re staying at evacuation centers like basket ball courts, chapels, and the like. So what need now are people to accommodate them after this operation is done.
How can others connect here to volunteer or donate?
We, USC, are conducting the relief operation now. So they contact me at 0906 5701 029.
I really appreciate Alex for taking the time to answer all of my questions. She held this whole operation together so well with her team. I was so happy to see everybody working together.
And to think the day was done…
Later in the evening my friend, husband and I bumped into a group of volunteers at the supermarket. We were shopping for donations and so happened to see this group at the cashier and asked what org were they with. And the rest was another spontaneous move. We decided to help them with our donation and volunteered that same evening at the Uplift Pilipinas Movement in CCF St. Francis Square that was nearby. It was awesome to meet those who were volunteering there from the morning and to talk about the relief situation.
So I took the time to talk with one of them, Chanda V. Chua, the team leader of the operation and also asked a few questions again.
How many volunteers did you begin with?
On Monday we started with 7 volunteers. The next day more volunteers showed up (more than 50). Some came to donate goods and then stuck around to help re-pack.
How long do you think this will go on?
1 week more so we are in need of more volunteers.
What other resources do you need aside from canned goods and instant food?
We are in need of more transportation. We have a community that are in touch with CCF leaders who inform us of the areas that are hit with the flood and the evacuation centers that are in need of food. But it’s slowly moving because we don’t have enough transportation. We also don’t know how to get to those who still may be stuck on their roofs. More vehicles are needed to deploy the goods to the evacuation centers and rubber boats to those who are still stuck in the flood. We also need more prayers and food.
What areas does this operation cover?
Pasig and Kalentong, Mandaluyong.
How can people donate or volunteer to here?
We have a Facebook page where you can find us or contact me at 0932 887 6797.
This was yet another great experience with another set of great people. I am really thankful to them for all the hard work they put into this operation as well.
Being at these places, I’ve noticed that one org is in need of transportation or goods more than the other org that needs more volunteers. Nonetheless, I am so happy and grateful that they were helping out these past few days of flood, especially the rescue orgs and teams deployed to the flooded areas. You are all are so brave and compassionate! I am truly thankful to you and hopeful that Philippines is growing stronger even in these times of calamity and loss. There is a sense of family and community when we come together like this, don’t you think?
If you are nearby these places, please feel free to contact them and help as volunteers or donators. If you are not near these places, please check out this link. There are more orgs that may be near you that you can help.
If you’re abroad and would like to donate, Philippine Red Cross is the way to go.
Please share this post with your friends on Facebook or Twitter. My experience was just yesterday’s update, so how much more can we help today. Let relief surpass the flood.
If you have more questions, information or updates to add to this post, please leave a comment below. I’d really appreciate it.
More updated news here:
- Updated news on Philippine Red Cross
- Fresh rains, evacuations in Manila prolong Misery by The Huffington Post