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World Vision Responds To Manila's Worst Disaster In Decades

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
World Vision Responds To Manila's Worst Disaster In Decades

World Vision is responding to thousands affected by Typhoon Ketsana in the Philippines, which has been described as Manila's worst disaster in decades.

Typhoon Ketsana first hit the Philippines on Saturday, and floodwaters remain hoisted at half a metre high, submerging 80 per cent of the capital city and trapping over 400,000 in Manila and neighbouring provinces.

World Vision's initial response has been to provide urgent food and water parcels with the help of the Coast Guard. A truckload of more food aid is ready for dispatch to Marikina for distribution to feed 500 families in the villages of Tumana and Malanday. World Vision aims to help over 100,000 people - with food and non-food items in four of the worst affected areas.

Thousands of homes in these areas, many of them poor settlements beside rivers, are still badly affected. Many have lost everything to ceiling-high flood waters that brought with it mud, debris and garbage and left victims on their roofs for as long as 20 hours without food, water and shelter.

World Vision Philippines National Director Elnora Avarientos said: "The impact of this typhoon on Manila has been shocking. The city is in a state of trauma and unbelief following this massive and sudden flooding. This natural disaster has indeed equalised us all. Many have lost everything, including bedding, food, education materials and clothing. The poorest living in slums and settlements are especially badly hit. We urgently need donations to meet our appeal for USD$2m to respond to the needs of 100,000 people."

World Vision Philippines Humanitarian Emergency Affairs Director Jose "Boy" Bersales said: "Houses were flooded in just few minutes so people were not able to bring their belongings or food into evacuation centres. Others have had to wait on their rooftops to be rescued."

Typhoon Ketsana, known locally as Ondoy, packed maximum wind speeds of up to 110km/h, brought a month's rain in less than seven hours, killing at least 100 people - making it the worst disaster to hit the capital in decades.

Those who managed to flee on foot were left grappling with surging water, floating debris and water up to their necks. A number of dead bodies, most of which are children and elderly, were seen floating in the water in areas still flooded, while other bodies were found along the streets in areas where water has subsided.

"World Vision is deeply concerned for children and families who were affected by the raging floodwaters, especially those who have been trapped for hours in the rain on their rooftops. We are appealing for more US$2million to reach 20,000 families (100,000 people)," said Bersales.

On Sunday afternoon, World Vision deployed teams to assess the damage. "World Vision staff found that thousands of children and their families were in urgent need of food and water," he said.

World Vision is now building a response programme based around providing food and non-food items and helping communities recover by organising food and cash for work programmes to clean up streets, community structures and schools. Staff will also be setting up child friendly spaces.

World Vision staff have also been affected by the floods. Scores found their homes suddenly flooded, other staff had to flee to the World Vision office which housed families overnight and 25 staff have themselves received emergency aid.

New Zealanders can support the relief effort to help re-build communities in the Philippines by making a donation through World Vision's website: www.worldvision.org.nz.

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