NASSA conducts assessment in flooded Laguna towns

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MANILA, Sept. 12, 2012?The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (CBCP-NASSA) has recently conducted an in-depth assessment of 38 evacuation centers in “still flooded” areas in Laguna.

“We’ve been there to attach with the Social Action Director of San Pablo, Fr. Rene B. Eriga. We had a meeting in Calamba together with his two staff and we visited four to five evacuation camps in Calamba alone,” said Ma. Cynthia S. Perez, Staff of NASSA-Social Emergency Services/Anti-Trafficking of Women and Children.

According to Perez, they saw the current situation of the internally displaced person and their families in Laguna. The largest evacuation camp they visited was the newly constructed public market.

Around 1,200 families or an estimated 7,000 individuals are currently occupying the public market for the meantime.

“There are still flooded areas in Laguna specially those neighboring Laguna De Bay. We can see the different situations of the evacuees. There are still ‘home based’ evacuees, those who do not want to shelter temporarily in the evacuation centers; and some evacuees chose to abandon their houses for their safety,” Perez added.

She said the last time the province of Laguna experienced this kind of desolation was during Typhoon Ondoy in 2009. The Ondoy victims stayed in the evacuation centers until December 2009.

However, the recently SouthWest Monsoon brought a bigger damage to the communities. Lagunenses estimated they could go back home in November, but based on some assessments done, the evacuees may possibly resume their normal life only in the first quarter of 2013.

Food shortage is one of the main problems in the evacuation centers. Donations coming from the Non Government Organizations are good only for at least two to three days.

The families in the evacuation centers had only sleeping mats, thermal kits, blanket and mosquito nets, according to the assessment of NASSA-Social Emergency Services.

Perez said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Region IV-A also gave them a report on the situation of evacuees.

The victims hit by the recent typhoons and southwest monsoon were mostly in Central Luzon, nearby provinces of National Capital region, Southern Luzon and the Region IV-A, according to Perez.

“The highest volumes of evacuees were in Region IV-A and NCR. In Central Luzon, the province of Pampanga has four more evacuation camps hosting the 331 families within the province,” said Perez.

NASSA had already released 1 million pesos for some devastated areas in Luzon like Bulacan, Pampanga, Imus, Antipolo, and Laguna.

She said they are still waiting for donations from Caritas Singapore and non-food items to bring to Laguna and Pampanga.

“We badly need your help. The CBCP-NASSA is asking for any kind of donations. We are all Filipinos, regardless of our faith and we encourage you to show our unity and love to our brothers and sisters in need,” Perez said. (SocialActionNews)

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