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The Philippines: Pedring / Quiel Aftermath

A friend of mine, from the Philippines, wrote this great piece about the typhoons and I asked her if I could share it with you all. It is the point of view of a local about a problem that happens every year. I think it could be of the interest of some of you. As you can see, there's a niche of work there that needs to be developed urgently.

Best regards
Ana

"Calumpit, Bulacan
October 8, 2011

A week after Typhoons Pedring and Quiel ravaged Bulacan and its surrounding provinces, our whole family decided to visit our relatives to distribute relief goods. They are still trapped in Sta. Lucia, one of the barrios in Calumpit, Bulacan. Our lola and tita's houses were also submerged in water. They've been stranded for days without water and electricity. Our world stood still when we saw what happened to our lola's house.

Getting to the inner towns of Calumpit was, for me, a very difficult experience. From the main highway, we had to walk for about 11km for 2 hours just to get to my lola's house. Every so often, few trucks and bamboo rafts would come by, but since they're always loaded with people and relief goods, we couldn't be accommodated. So we had to endure the long walk and the only dangerous road that leads to our neighborhood.

We have enough relief operations already. We wanted to start with the clean up operations but couldn't. So areas are still flooded. We're going back to Bulacan next weekend to clean up the mess (hope the flood will be gone by then). Prayers are more important because some neighborhoods are still submerged in water with families trapped in their homes without water and electricity.

I think the concrete things we need right now, other than relief goods, are for our policy makers to sit down and come up with a long-term sustainable disaster risk management/mitigation plans through a multi-stakeholder consultation. The media didn't really quite present the real stories well to the public. And I think a lot is yet to be done to address such need.

For now, we are just relieved that my lola and all our relatives are safe."

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Comments

MaDube's picture

I feel for you

A friend of mine Por from Thailand also lost her home in the floods there. And when we talk of global warming and climate change and the real impact it has on people's lives some people ask "what climate change?" This is really sad and my prayers are with the Filipinos and Thai.

gingerhooper's picture

Not just a niche

Ana,
Thanks so much for posting your friend's story. This is indeed a story we are hearing in so many places now, not always floods but also the opposite problem of terrible droughts. I think that this type of work is no longer a niche consideration but one of the main considerations for agencies locally and internationally- because it is also an international consideration.
1. The focus of aid needs to continue to move away from short term relief (although of course some is needed in disasters) to more thoughtful longer-term solutions.
2. I personally believe that due to our changing climate we will see more problems like this and governments still do not officially recognise the refugee status of people fleeing their homes as a result of natural disasters. We need to petition world's governments to encourage them to recognise the issue.
Thanks for this insight
Laura

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