Media Contact:Rachel Wolff
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, the Philippines (18 December 2011) — As search and rescue efforts shift to relief assistance for the survivors of Mindanao's devastating flooding, Christian aid agency World Vision's relief director in Mindanao, John Salva, said today that water, ready-to-eat food and hygiene kits remain the most urgent needs for affected families.
"The focus now is on providing water and simple foods to children and families," Salva said, describing access to water as particularly critical. "People are walking in the streets with no shoes, their clothes muddied, carrying containers trying to find sources of water," he reported.
World Vision relief teams have mobilized to provide 5,000 families in Cagayan de Oro with drinking water, rice, biscuits, and canned goods, as well as emergency items like hygiene kits with soap, blankets, sleeping mats, cooking pots and utencils. In addition, World Vision will distribute vouchers worth about $35 USD (Php 1,500) to the 5,000 families so they can buy additional food and replace critical everyday items they may have lost in the flooding or mudslides. Distributions to another 5,000 families in Iligan is also being planned.
"The mud that has covered the roads and filled people’s homes is a real concern as we look toward the recovery phase," Salva said. "In some areas the mud is up to people's knees, in other areas up to their waists."
Some survivors have begun trying to clean out their houses but the lack of access to water is a major hindrance for clean-up work.
"Children's needs will remain World Vision's top focus in our relief efforts," said Salva, whose aid teams are planning to set up a Child-Friendly Space to provide youngest survivors a safe place to play. World Vision also plans to distribute school supplies to some 10,000 school children.
Meanwhile, there are reports of people being recovered from the shore in nearby municipalities as they were swept away. As some people are sighted floating from the shore, village people are asking for fuel for their boats so they can rescue the people who are holding on to debris.
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About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve the world's poor — regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information on their efforts, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews