Red Cross sets up 1000 tents transitional shelter for typhoon Sendong evacuees; distributes New Year package

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The Philippine Red Cross further gears up its massive relief and recovery efforts for typhoon Sendong victims as more than 8000 families still struggle at the 28 evacuation centers, particularly in Cagayan De Oro (CDO) and Iligan, due to congestion and lack of basic service facilities.

Anxieties grew stronger especially among evacuees sheltered in school buildings as classes resume on January 3 next year. "Natatakot po kami. Saan po kami pupunta," one of the evacuees cried to PRC Chairman Richard Gordon on the phone.

Support teams from PRC headquarters and chapters in Metro Manila led by Chairman Gordon and PRC Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang leave Thursday to help in setting up 1000 tents in various areas to serve as transitional shelter for evacuees while waiting for a more settled relocation and shelter.

At the same time, the Red Cross teams will help distribute 5,000 hygiene kits – 2500 in CDO and 2500 in Iligan. Each hygiene kit consists of 5 towels, 5 bath soap, I bottle shampoo, hair comb, 5 toothbrush, 225 grams toothpaste, 2 razor, I pack cotton buds, I pack sanitary napkins, and 2 rolls toilet paper.

In addition, the Red Cross will distribute 10,000 non-food items consisting of 2 mats, 2 blankets, 2 mosquito nets and 1 jerry can per family.

"Our mission is to alleviate suffering and bring back human dignity of the affected families", say Gordon.

Gordon said Red Cross alleviates suffering by providing basic needs such as food, water, and clothing. It brings back dignity by making them feel clean and look clean through hygiene kits, and providing them the comfort of sleeping materials.

With all this, plus transitional shelter and continuous psychosocial support provided by Red Cross social workers, families in distress are able to resurrect, according to Gordon.

For children, the Red Cross will give toys and school supplies in time for the school opening next year. The Red Cross also invited top magicians in the country to perform for the entertainment of the children.

In time for the New Year medya noche, PRC will distribute variety of food and drinks to each family along with other special gift packs.

Secretary General Pang said, so far the Red Cross has served a total of 5,495 families with food items; 3,316 with non-food items; and 2,333 families with hot meals.

Red Cross has likewise deployed 3 water tankers and installed 4 water bladders in CDO and 2 in Iligan.

Pang said during their trip, they will meet with Iligan Mayor Lawrence Cruz and Vice Mayor Henry Dy for future coordination in shelter program for the affected families.

Gordon and Pang thanked all donors and volunteers who have extended their full support to the Red Cross.