Oxfam has dispatched a team of experts on the ground to assess the water and sanitation conditions in Metro Manila and nearby provinces in the Philippines, after floods brought on by nonstop monsoon rains displaced at least 53,258 families or 242,211 individuals and killed more than 50. The rains started August 7, Tuesday and continued through Thursday, August 9.
In its initial assessments, Oxfam has found that local governments in the municipalities of Angono and Cainta in the province of Rizal and Sta. Cruz in the province of Laguna are still under control of the situation. The fact that these areas were affected by and have learned from their experience during the deadly typhoon Ketsana in 2009 played a role in their readiness. Food and water are being provided by the local governments from their stockpiles and by relief operations carried out by the private sector. The most urgent needs in some centers are latrines and medicines for children suffering from bronchial or skin diseases. Without bathrooms, women are finding it harder to observe personal hygiene and stave off sanitation and health risks. They also face the added burden of caring for sick children; pregnant women face even more difficult times ahead.
However, government resources might be overstretched, especially if the rains continue and if the water levels do not go down in affected areas, which are situated mostly below sea level. “Emergency livelihoods support is needed especially for areas in the provinces of Laguna and Rizal and Bulacan if the high waters don’t subside,” said Paul del Rosario, head of Oxfam’s humanitarian program in the Philippines. In Laguna and Rizal, residents foresee at least a month before the water completely recedes unless the nearby water systems which have over-flown are drained.
For more information, please contact Glenn Maboloc, media officer, +63928-504-2911.