Philippines: Gordon thanks USAID for help in relief ops

Philippine National Red Cross Chairman and Senator Richard Gordon thanked the USAID for its help in providing relief goods to victims of Typhoon Frank in Iloilo.

Gordon supervised relief operations in Iloilo accompanied by Ms. Dianne Moore of USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development) as some 18 municipalities and one city--totalling 3, 620 families--affected by Typhoon Frank received non-food relief items including: blankets; mosquito nets; water containers; plastic sheets for rooftops; jerry cans; hygiene kits (toothpaste; powder; toothbrush; shaver; shampoo; detergent; tissue;combs; sanitary napkins; deodorant soap; one soap).

According to Moore, the United States and the Philippines have always been friends and the USAID is always ready to extend help to Filipinos at any time.

Families who lost their homes due to Typhoon Frank received the non-food relief goods.

Gordon also went around Iloilo particularly in areas where the PNRC was deployed for a medical mission. He spoke to residents of Barangay Balantang in Jaro, Iloilo during one medical mission and reminded them about the importance of spotting any illness or disease that might manifest in the wake of Typhoon Frank.

Relief goods were also distributed to Barangay Cuartero, Jaro, Santo Niño Sur, Arevalo and Oton.

Gordon however told residents that real aid should not end only with the distribution of relief goods and other dole-outs; rather, the most important step is helping vicitms rebuild their lives through recovery and rehabilitation efforts. In line with this, the PNRC introduced a Gulayan (vegetable farm) Project. The Gulayan Project involves the distribution of seedlings to residents to help them restore their sources of livelihood especially since farmlands have been damaged by the typhoon.

'Relief operations and dole outs from well-meaning and concerned individuals and agencies are useful in helping victims in the short-term. However, for lasting recovery and rehabilitation, and to allow them to rebuild their lives, they must realize that the PNRC is here to help them fight on for their own future; they need to exert their own best efforts to start over. This Gulayan Project for livelihood is an excellent starting point,' said Gordon.

The USAID is an independent federal government agency that supports long-term, equitable economic growth for countries recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty, and engaged in democtratic reforms. It renders assistance in areas like agriculture and trade; global health; democracy, conflict prevention and humanitarian services.