Thousands displaced in Philippine floods
August 23, 2013
QUEZON CITY, Philippines — More than 5,200 families served by CFCA in the Philippines fled their homes when severe floods hit the Manila area this week.
Families are staying in evacuation centers organized by the Philippine government in schools, churches and other public places. CFCA projects are providing comfort with food, water and blankets.
Two boys sit at the edge of floodwaters and look out on the road leading
to their home.
The families affected live in the metropolitan area and outlying regions served by CFCA’s Manila, Antipolo and Quezon projects. CFCA works with more than 30,000 children, their families and the elderly through the projects.
While floodwaters had started to recede and “flooding up to knee-high was tolerable, everybody was on watch for the behavior of the floodwaters,” said Malou Navio, Antipolo project coordinator.
Some areas were still submerged in floodwater and inaccessible to vehicles and pedestrians. Landslides were also reported in the area.
Volunteers from CFCA’s ERPAT fathers group were on hand to assist with rescues and making rounds to assess the situations of families. The fathers are trained in disaster response, and have been volunteering in that capacity since 2004. (ERPAT stands for Empowerment and Reaffirmation of Paternal Abilities.)
Parents of sponsored children and CFCA staff members in communities throughout the affected areas joined forces to reach out to the most vulnerable.
“Our Pambuhay (parent group) leaders and community workers as well as our scholars (CFCA scholarship students) assist our sponsored families in the community,” said Marivic Ihap, Quezon project coordinator.
Children and their mothers find refuge at an evacuation center.
There have been no reports of deaths or serious injuries among sponsored children or elderly, though damages to homes will likely be significant.
CFCA will provide assistance for immediate needs and long-term recovery through the Disaster Assistance Fund and project calamity funds.
Among the worst hit areas was the Bataan community, served by the Manila project, where more than 1,800 sponsored children and elderly friends live. Heavy flooding blocked access to the area for days.
Monsoon rains and rains from tropical storm Trami, locally known as Maring, merged on Aug. 18, creating persistent heavy rains. Rivers such as the San Mateo and Montalban overflowed their banks.
About 20 typhoons a year hit the Philippines, and flooding in Manila, the Philippine capital and home to more than 12 million people, has worsened in recent years.
Environmental and infrastructure concerns such as deforestation, trash clogging drains and waterways, outdated drainage systems and slums located near waterways have all been cited as contributing to the flooding problem.
The CFCA community around the world holds all those affected by the flooding in thought and prayer.
(CFCA communications liaison Tristan John Cabrera in the Philippines contributed information and photos for this story.)