MANILA, Philippines – Just before Christmas, tropical storms Urduja (Kai-Tak) and Vinta (Tembin) devastated various parts of the country, displacing tens of thousands in Visayas and Mindanao and leaving behind billions of pesos worth of damaged properties and agriculture products.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) said its staff and volunteers will continue to work double time – even if it means not spending Christmas with their families – to provide humanitarian assistance to those affected by the two tropical storms. (READ: 31 dead, 49 missing due to Urduja)
PRC chairman Richard Gordon said staff and volunteers from their national headquarters and from 31 chapters in Mindanao are currently responding to and closely monitoring all affected provinces.
"When the world no longer watches, the Philippine Red Cross stays to do what must be done. We are one in helping the most vulnerable, banking on our fundamental principle of humanity," Gordon said.
PRC teams were among the first on the ground to assess and monitor the situation in the aftermath of Urduja.
PRC mobilized 82 staff and 1,955 volunteers from its 24 chapters in the Visayas to help those affected by the tropical storm, which made 6 landfalls in the country.
About 240 families already received sleeping kits, which include blankets, towels, and plastic mats, and about 651 families received food items. About 8,185 individuals also received hot meals, while 169 individuals were given psychosocial support.
PRC was also among the first to access Biliran province, one of the areas hardest hit by Urduja.
The PRC set up a 5,000-liter water bladder at the Biliran Provincial Hospital to provide water regularly to patients and nearby residents. The organization also provided anti-tetanus vaccines to injured individuals. (READ: Agriculture damage from Urduja reaches P1 billion)
The PRC also provided hot meals to 1,880 individuals affected by Vinta. About 856 individuals were also given psychosocial support.
PRC volunteers were also the first to respond when a ceiling of the Butuan City Jail collapsed during the height of Vinta on Friday, December 22. (READ: IN PHOTOS: Destroyed roads, bridges in Mindanao due to Vinta)
Meanwhile, prepositioned non-food items (for 1,000 families) from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are ready for distribution at the Philippine Red Cross Chapter in Cagayan de Oro. (READ: Death toll from Tropical Storm Vinta breaches 200)
The PRC has 103 chapters nationwide, with two million volunteers ready to provide humanitarian assistance especially to the most vulnerable.
Aside from disaster response, PRC's other services include health care, blood donation, and promotion of volunteerism values among the youth. – Rappler.com
If you want to help those affected by Vinta or if you have reports about their humanitarian needs like temporary shelter, relief goods, water, and hygiene kits, post them on the Agos map, text to 2929 (Smart and Sun), or tag MovePH on Twitter or Facebook. You may also link up with other organizations that called for donations.