Oxfam and partners provides safe water in Typhoon Pablo affected areas #pabloph

Livelihoods recovery urgently needed in the next couple of months

Manila, Philippines (December 10, 2012) —- “Safe water is an urgent need of affected families from the severely affected towns of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental but livelihood and shelter also pose as urgent issues which should be dealt with” according to humanitarian agency Oxfam and its partner the Humanitarian Response Consortium (HRC).  Typhoon Pablo (International name: Bopha) affected five million people all over the country with the severely hit needing urgent assistance numbering 504,603 persons or 123,063 families  in the provinces of Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley according to data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.    

“What we will be doing in the next two weeks is to provide clean safe drinking water, start rebuilding damaged water systems and distributing much needed items such as water disinfection materials. We will also help communities rebuild their shelters, and support the rebuilding of economic activities in the coming months,” says Paul Del Rosario, Oxfam in the Philippines humanitarian coordinator.  

The humanitarian agency have water bladder-tanks already in Compostela Valley, and potable water will be trucked to affected barangays starting today.  

In Barangay Kidawa, Laak homes were destroyed while electricity is still down and will likely paralyze the area for at least a month. Families are living in tiny shelters of wood with plastic tarpaulins on higher ground about ten minutes walk away from where their original homes were.  Pipes were also destroyed by the typhoon.  

“We also need support with drinking water and blankets.  Children are sleeping out on the open ground.   Over the next few weeks we’ll need more medicines. We are afraid there will be an outbreak of diseases like diarrhea,” appeals Laak Mayor Reynaldo Navarro.

Food security and livelihood also count as a major problem because agricultural lands encompassing bananas, coconuts which are the main cash crops in the region are now totally destroyed.  Rice fields have also been wiped out.    “We will have to work very hard to try to recover from what’s happened.  It will take two years to probably recover…it took that time for all my crops to grow.  It will take two years to get back to how things were” says Richard Carado, a farmer and father of six. He has two hectares of land, planting bananas and coconuts.

For Del Rosario, replication of best practices by other local governments in terms of disaster preparedness and risk reduction measures is key to minimize impacts of calamities. “For the past two years, what Oxfam has done is to lobby for a national policy that was successfully enacted into laws namely the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 and the People’s Survival Fund. The challenge for us is to help local governments put these policies into practice, and become better prepared.”

Newsnote:  The Humanitarian Response Consortium supported by Oxfam is made up of A Single Drop for Safe Water (ASDSW); the Kadtuntaya Foundation (KFI) ; People’s Disaster Response Network (PDRRN) and Rural Development Institute of Sultan Kudarat (RDISK)