Oxfam has reached isolated communities in the Philippines hit by Typhoon Mangkhut to deliver urgently needed clean water to 500 families.
Maria Rosario Felizco, Oxfam Philippines Country Director, said “Oxfam and partners are providing clean drinking water to three indigenous communities in Rizal. People have walked six hours by foot to reach the town centre, and some crossed rivers chest high to get badly needed supplies the day after the storm hit. Water distribution will be ongoing as more supplies are delivered to other areas in the coming weeks.”
The mountainous municipality of Rizal, in the southwestern part of Cagayan, was among the first areas assessed by response teams from Oxfam and Citizens' Disaster Response Center (CDRC). The teams have been assessing coastal towns and mountainous areas in Cagayan since Thursday last week.
CDRC Executive Director Mikhail Valle reported that it was extremely difficult to get into Rizal in the aftermath of Mangkhut. “It took us three hours just to get through. In our first attempt, we were blocked by a flooded bridge and we had to take another route, which was very far. We were also confronted by landslides along the way.” The emergency responders’ van had to be pulled by a payloader through the thick mud left behind the by the typhoon the first time they tried to reach hundreds of families in Rizal.
Rizal sits at the border of Cagayan and Apayao provinces, which are among Mangkhut’s worst hit regions, is classified by the Philippine Department of Health as a geographically isolated and disadvantaged area (GIDA). The government recognizes that GIDAs are far-flung communities with marginalized populations, such as indigenous peoples, who disproportionately face access barriers to critical infrastructure and social services.
Valle says the Rizal municipality contains several isolated areas inhabited entirely by indigenous people. “They have their own resources and practice preparedness, but due to the extent of the impact of Mangkhut, they still need assistance. They depend on wells for water, and they are prone to water-borne diseases.”
Oxfam is also preparing to distribute materials for shelter repair, including tarpaulins and ropes, later this week.
Note To Editors:
· A video clip of the assessment team’s van being pulled by a payloader through the thick mud left behind the by the typhoon on the way to Rizal town:
https://twitter.com/oxfamph/status/1041961210814447617 · Photos and more details from the water distribution in Rizal today: https://twitter.com/oxfamgbpress/status/1041628053745623040 · Oxfam supporters around the world can now contribute to the Typhoon Mangkhut Response online: http://oxf.am/mangkhut
For media enquiries contact:
Lysbeth Holdoway Mobile: 07778 482 867 email firstname.lastname@example.org
Spokespersons in the field:
- Maria Rosario Felizco | Country Director, Oxfam Philippines
- Rhoda Avila | Manager for Humanitarian Partnership Relations, Oxfam Philippines
Oxfam works with others to overcome poverty and suffering.