[Blueboard] Renewed call for cash donations for rehabilitation of victims of Typhoon Lando

Jaime G. Hofilena jghofilena at ateneo.edu
Tue Oct 27 10:44:00 PHT 2015


On behalf of University President Fr. Jett Villarin SJ and the DReaM Team,
thank you to the Ateneo de Manila community and friends for thus far
supporting the calls for donations for Typhoon Lando victims in Cabiao and
Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija.

Relief goods which had been purchased and/or donated throughout last week
were packed by Loyola Schools students and members of the Grade School
community and have been sent over the weekend to the relief operations base
at Cabiao, for repacking and distribution to victims there and in Gabaldon,
or deliverd directly to an IP community in Gabaldon.

In conjunction with these disaster response efforts, Fr. Ben Nebres SJ
recently assessed conditions on the ground in those areas.  He provides
descriptions and anecdotes quoted below (taken from an email of his to
German friends supporting Gawad Kalinga initiatives in Cabiao and the
disaster response effort as well). Photographs depicting certain scenes
there may be seen at

*Please continue to help our fellowmen in need in this time of lingering
disaster for them. * *We will be transitioning from relief aid to assisting
those we can in the rehabilitation of their lost livelihoods*.  Should you
wish to help out through the University's contribution to the effort, you
may refer to the attached modes for making cash donations.

Atty. Jaime G. Hofileña

Vice President for Social Development

and co-convenor, Disaster Response and Management (DReaM) Team


"I spent all day *[of Friday, Oct. 23, 2015] xxx* visiting Cabiao and
Gabaldon. As you may have heard, Typhoon Lando (International name Koppu)
was particularly destructive, because it lingered a long time and thus
dropped immense amounts of rainfall. For example, in Baguio city from 8
am Oct 19 to 4 am Oct 20, it dropped 737 millimeters of rain in 20 hours,
over 2 months worth of rainfall. And because it lingered 5 days, it dropped
this rainfall in different parts of Central and Northern Luzon. In
Gabaldon, the destructive floods came at 9 am of Saturday, October 17. In
Cabiao, the destructive floods came at 1 am of Tuesday.

In Cabiao, Mayor Gloria (Baby) Congco spent sleepless nights since Sunday,
Oct. 18. She worked 24 hours contacting help from our government offices
for disaster response and management. Fortunately, the Air Force responded
in time and later the Coast Guard. They brought speed boats, which were
needed to rescue people in the rapid surge of waters at 1 am of Tuesday.
For very many farmers, it has been an extremely painful event. Many of them
had gone to their rice farms, in the hope that they could harvest their
crop before the floods came (harvest would be in a week). But
around midnight of Monday, they heard the roar of waters coming and, as one
farmer said, '*nawalan ako ng pagasa'* ('I lost all hope'). 40% of the rice
crops are gone and 100% of the vegetable crops.

In Gabaldon, the destruction is horrendous. As we travelled to our GK
Village there, we were stunned to see several kilometers of rocks and
boulders where vegetable gardens and houses used to be. This is in Barangay
Calabasa, which I know very well, as it is just before our GK Village in
Barangay Tagumpay. Evidently, there used to be a marble quarry in the
nearby mountains and the scene is a wasteland of rocks and marble. It
reminds us of the incredible power of water.

But my visit xxx was also a story of resilience and hope. In both Cabiao
and Gabaldon, GK and Ateneo have been working on RELIEF. As I emailed you
earlier, we have delivered foodpacks for several thousand families and
continue to do so. I was much touched by the story of our youth in our new
German Village, GK St. Joseph. They have been staying in the Relief Center
(at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines branch in Cabiao) helping
to pack relief goods. One of our GK heads, Jon Ramos, asked them if they
might feel bad because they would not themselves be receiving relief goods.
But they said, '*Hindi po, mas masarap magbigay, kaysa tumanggap'* ('No, it
is a nicer feeling to give than to receive').

Fortunately, our new German Village in St. Joseph is fine. xxx And the rice
fields around it are not so badly damaged. Some of the rice plants are down
due to the winds, but I am told that they will still be 50-70% ok. The big
damage is to the rice plants that went under water.

REHABILITATION: Beyond the relief work, GK and Ateneo are now focusing on
providing funds for Cabiao to provide rice seedlings so the farmers can
replant. Luis Oquiñena of GK and I will meet with the Mayor next week to
work out the implementation plan for this replanting work. Support for
seedlings and fertilizers so they can replant is critical. They can no
longer support this need on their own, as they spent everything and even
borrowed for the crops that were destroyed. The sooner they can replant,
the shorter the time of scarcity and hunger.  If we do not help them, there
is likelihood that they will lose their land (because they cannot repay
their debts) and will end up becoming squatters in the cities.

In Gabaldon, the main needs that Mayor Rolando Bue expressed to us are:

1) Continuing relief for some more time as the people have no source of
food for the next weeks;

2) Cash for Work. He is mobilizing the people to work on Flood Control.
They learned that using cement for the flood control walls is not the most
effective, because once one part of the cement wall gives, it is likely
that the whole wall will fall. They will use rocks (of which they now have
plenty) to build rock walls, as they are more robust. This will solve two
needs: Better Flood Control and Hunger until the next harvest. He is
applying to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for
this program. I am also contacting a Buddhist Foundation, Tzu Chi, which
provided this cash for work after Typhoon Yolanda.

3) Planting materials for a root crop, camote (sweet potato). Much of the
land cannot be planted soon for their usual rice or vegetable crops. But
they can be used for camote. I have contacted the Department of Agriculture
in Tarlac City, since they got this support  from them in the past.

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