PH Red Cross to aid 400K 'Odette' victims; appeals for more donations

Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Senator Richard Gordon vowed to provide aid to 400,000 victims of typhoon Odette as the organization continues to appeal for more donations.

Photo from the Philippine Red Cross

"Every bit helps, and hopefully we can come out as successful as we did in Haiyan wherein there were no integrity issues in all the typhoon operations and fundraising initiatives," Gordon said.

Gordon held an emergency diplomatic meeting with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and 29 ambassadors and diplomats on Thursday, Dec. 23. He thanked them for their contributions and appealed for more donations for those who were affected by the recent typhoon.

"It has been exacerbated once again by the loss of livelihood, infrastructure damage, crop damage, which still has to be unfurrowed, and challenges to morale because these people have no water, the lifelines are out, water, power, communications, even medical facilities are affected, but the most affected of course are the most vulnerable, and there are many poor in our country," he said during the meeting.

Through an emergency appeal, PRC will be delivering urgent relief and long-term recovery efforts for an estimated 400,000 people with the support of the IFRC.

Currently, PRC said that it has 1,540 volunteers on the ground, and has distributed hot meals to 27,915 individuals, provided bread to 865 families, gave food items to 194 families, distributed non-food items to 50 families, provided psychosocial support to 725 individuals, set up child-friendly spaces catering to 263 individuals, monitored the blood pressure of 965 individuals, gave first aid to 31 individuals, held a session on hygiene promotion in evacuation centers to 8,083 individuals, gave hygiene kits to 204 families, distributed 168,300 liters of water, sent over clothing to 251 individuals and face masks to 245 individuals, and distributed 19 body bags as of Thursday, Dec. 23.

PRC also received on Dec. 22, bilateral donations from the Spanish Red Cross, German Red Cross, Singapore Red Cross, Australian DFAT, International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (ICRC), Korean National Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross, and Kuwait Red Crescent Society.

Present in the emergency meeting were Gordon, PRC Secretary-General Elizabeth Zavalla, IFRC Asia Pacific Regional Director, Gwendolyn Pang, IFRC Philippine Head of Delegation, Alberto Bocanegra, IFRC Philippines Program Coordinator, Gopal Mukherjee, and IFRC Communications, Rachel Punitha.

Also, in attendance were representatives from the Australian Embassy, Austrian Embassy, British Embassy, Bruneian Embassy, Cambodia Embassy, Canadian Embassy, ECHO, Egyptian Embassy, Embassy of Brazil, Embassy of France, Embassy of Hungary, Embassy of Israel, Embassy of Italy, Embassy of Japan, Embassy of Mexico, Embassy of Panama, Embassy of Spain, Embassy of the Czech Republic, EU Delegation, Finnish Embassy, France, German Embassy, Korean Embassy, Netherlands Embassy, New Zealand Embassy, Embassy of Norway, Norwegian Embassy, South African Embassy, and Swedish Embassy.

Meanwhile, PRC has also deployed its water tankers to provide access to clean and potable water to affected residents in Visayas and Mindanao region. The provision of safe water is part of PRC’s water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) unit to prevent diseases like diarrhea from spreading.

"This Typhoon Odette (Rai) is almost like Haiyan. In fact, in some places, it hit us more than Haiyan," Gordon said.

He added that the devastation caused by typhoon Odette affected the morale of residents because of the lack of access to water, communication, medical facilities, and electricity. PRC said that its volunteers rushed to the affected areas in Visayas and Mindanao to assist victims by providing them basic services including access to a safe and sufficient water supply.