Philippines

Emergency assistance for victims of volcanic eruption in Philippines

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After a 14-hour journey from Manila, the Philippines, the five members of the Salvation Army relief team arrived in Legaspi - the site of the volcanic eruption - in two vehicles loaded with sleeping mats, blankets and foodstuff. The corps officers at Legaspi and the local emergency relief team packed the goods into plastic bags and the following day the team, after a courtesy call on the mayor, went to the Department of Social Welfare, which was coordinating the Disaster Assistance Programme.
The Salvation Army was asked to focus its help on the Barangays (the smallest political unit in the Philippines). Lieut-Colonel Anita Orane (Divisional Commander, Central Philippines Division) led the combined teams to an evacuation center which accommodated those families most affected by the eruption. There were 731 families - approximately 4,400 people, including children and babies - there. Another evacuation centre also received aid from the Army, bringing the total number of recipients to approximately 8,400 people on that one day.

One of the team members wrote: 'I think that people are now adjusted to life at the evacuation center, although the rooms are crowded. In one classroom there were about 20 families. Some of them were sick already because the ventilation is not good enough. Most of the ones who got sick were children. There is potable water but they still have to sterilise it to be sure it is safe for drinking. The husbands go home from time to time to check on their properties and livestock. The affected families do not know how long they will be staying at the evacuation centres. The effects of the eruption will last for a long time and rehabilitation will be a long process. We may have met the temporary needs of the affected families at this time but I hope that we can help in the rehabilitation of their lives.'

The corps officers at Legaspi and their team will maintain contact with these families to give them moral support, hope and encouragement.

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