Emergency supplies reach thousands of families hit by Bohol earthquake

Publié: 5 novembre 2013 16:21 CET

By Nichola Jones, IFRC

Vital supplies from the  Philippine Red Cross have reached more than 4,000 families left homeless and struggling to cope in the aftermath of the earthquake which rocked Bohol Island in central Philippines three weeks ago.

A convoy of trucks rumbled into some of the worst affected towns and villages as a programme of aid distribution began this week and an international appeal to help those hardest hit gathers pace.

Deylinda Sotto, 60, whose brother Venerando was killed in the October 15 disaster, was among those who picked up hygiene kits, jerry cans, blankets, sleeping mats and tarpaulins in the Buenavista area of Bohol on Monday.

“I lost everything in the earthquake – my home, almost all of my belongings and my brother,” she says. “The last thing I heard was him shouting to me to get the children away, get them safe. He ran out after us but the house collapsed on top of him. He has a wife and two children who are now without their father.

“We are all still in shock – I can’t believe he’s gone.”

Deylinda, a town councillor for Hunan in Buenavista, is now living under a tarpaulin with her family and is unsure of what the future holds. “It gets very cold at night and we are sleeping almost in the open," she says. “Without the blankets and mats, I don’t know what we would do – it is very important that all the people affected by this crisis are given some help to start their lives again.”

The latest distributions began in Buenavista, Tubigon and Loon in Bohol’s North West on Sunday (November 3) and followed the arrival of a fresh delivery of supplies from Manila. They will continue with the help of staff and volunteers from the Philippine Red Cross and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) over the coming days.

Ria Rivera, from the Philippine Red Cross disaster management team, is helping to coordinate the relief effort and says emergency supplies signify more than immediate relief for the local communities. “We don’t just want to give out the kits; we want to try to empower people by giving advice and basic training on what to do if an earthquake happens again,” she says.

“We have been providing whistles for people too so they can raise the alarm if they become trapped. This is particularly crucial as aftershocks are still happening and in a disaster, something even as small as that could save your life.”

A 5.4 million Swiss Francs (USD 5.9 million, 4.4 million Euros) appeal was launched by the IFRC last week to help the Philippine Red Cross increase its emergency humanitarian operation to reach 50,000 people. 

Bernd Schell, country representative of IFRC in the Philippines says: “It is clear the humanitarian need remains massive in Bohol and we are committed to supporting the Red Cross staff and volunteers on the ground who are working tirelessly to reach as many people as possible.”

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