From the Philippine Red Cross website….
Walk-in volunteers knock at the door of Philippine Red Cross (PRC) National Headquarters to help in initial packing of 2,500 packs of food items for the victims of the recent flooding in Metro Manila due to Habagat.
Red Cross mounts a rapid rescue response, delivers relief as floods swamp Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon
Monsoon rains fueled by Tropical Storm Trami (local name: Maring) have prompted a massive rescue and relief response by the Philippine Red Cross as floods swamp the capital, Metro Manila, and nearby several provinces in the island of Luzon, affecting more than half a million people. So far, the floods have claimed lives of seven people, among them four children, injured 11 people and left four others missing.
The torrential rains and resultant floods come a week after Typhoon Utor slammed into Luzon with a damaging impact, and exactly a year – to the month – after monsoon rains, locally known as Habagat, brought massive flooding that marooned Manila and nearby provinces, displacing half a million people and prompting a major Red Cross intervention.
Since Monday 19 August morning, Red Cross emergency responders equipped with elevated trucks, ambulances, an amphibian vehicle, and rubber, plastic or steel boats have been undertaking ground operations that have so far brought more than 130 persons to safety and transported 50 stranded people to safer areas.
“We have deployed 14 search and rescue teams, equipped with 14 rescue boats, which will continue with operations in assigned areas until all trapped people are out of harm’s way,” says Gwendolyn Pang, secretary general of Philippine Red Cross. “Yesterday, our team in Cavite rescued a new-born baby and its mother and took them to hospital.”
To ensure that more people in flood-prone areas do not get into harm’s way, Philippine Red Cross is using multiple channels to encourage families in low-lying areas and those residing along major dam spillways to evacuate immediately.
Red Cross management, staff and volunteers are using the social media, such a Twitter and Facebook, disaster response teams in the chapters are sending SMS (short text messages) to residents whose mobile phone numbers are in record, and emergency response team members are making announcements in affected communities using megaphones.
“Our volunteers on the ground are also undertaking door-to-door visits to households at risk and advising them to leave immediately because we want every life saved,” Pang explains.
Besides undertaking rescue operations and supporting pre-preemptive evacuation efforts, the Red Cross is providing immediate relief to families that have sought safer shelter in evacuation centers. So far, some 1,500 affected individuals have been provided with ready-to-eat, hot meals.
Meantime, the Red Cross is preparing to scale up its response as weather forecasters indicate that the rains may continue for days. Major dams have reached critical levels and flooding is expected downstream once the dams open their gates. Water levels in Laguna de Bay have risen drastically, threatening to displace thousands of families living in its surroundings.
“We will certainly need our partners’ support for a scaled up response because, based on our experience from last year, families around Laguna bay may be displaced for weeks and will need our assistance to recover with dignity,” says Pang.
Safety conditions permitting and as rescue efforts continue, the Philippine Red Cross will undertake a rapid assessment on Tuesday, 20 August, to determine the scale of a relief intervention that it will mount immediately.
“We are fully prepared for a significant intervention as we have sleeping mats, blankets, jerry cans, mosquito nets and hygienic kits – sufficient to meet the needs of more than 20,000 families, as well as food items – as part of our contingency stocks that we maintain in Manila,” Pang assures.
Meanwhile, the Philippine national weather bureau has raised its rainfall alert for Manila and nearby provinces to red level, which is the highest, signaling that residents should brace for torrential rains of more than 30 millimetres an hour, serious flooding may be expected in low-lying areas and evacuation is encouraged.
The Philippine Red Cross operations center continues to monitor the situation 24/7 and is relaying information to response teams on the ground.