Mindanao, 16 January 2011 – Just days before Christmas, more than 100,000 families' holiday season and hopes for the new year were washed away with the flash flood that struck the northern coast of Mindanao, Philippines.
A month later, the tropical storm Washi (or Sendong in the Philippines) has left the country devastated, with more than 1,200 dead and many more missing.
"My wife and I clung to a tree as we watched a big log sweep our house away", Rolando Wabe told JRS in an interview at Barangay Canitoan evacuation centre.
The storm destroyed more than 10,000 houses and displaced more than 300,000 people, mainly in the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro. According to the latest UN reports, around 176 persons are still missing.
JRS has conducted a rapid needs assessment and is committed to working with those who are not currently being assisted by other NGOs.
We need your help
While JRS staff in the Philippines are doing their best, they cannot do it alone. JRS needs international assistance to address the needs of the thousands of newly displaced. It will take time for those affected by the flooding to recover and begin to live normally again.
With only 300 US dollars a family will be provided with the supplies they need to build their own temporary shelter.
"Distribution of aid remains insufficient and inequitable; the focus must shift from (evacuation centres) to the displaced outside of (evacuation centres), host communities and people in remote and isolated areas", one UN report said.
"We want to relocate to a safer place", pleaded a woman temporarily staying on church grounds after her home was washed away in Iponan, another barangay (village) outside the city.
In the months to come, families will begin leaving evacuation centres and building temporary shelters until they can find permanent housing. With your help, these families will live in a safe place and be one step closer to having a home.
"While it's good (at these evacuation centres) because they can get food from visiting groups, they have asked if they could be assisted in building temporary shelters", said a village chief.
What you can do to help
The mission of JRS is to serve those on the fringes of humanity, and we are dedicated to serving displaced communities. JRS welcomes those who want to express their solidarity with the affected displaced people in Mindanao to take the following actions:
- providing a donation
- sending volunteers
We hope with your support many of these families will be able to return to their homes as soon as possible.