Three days after the Typhoon Ompong, internationally called Mangkut, hit the Philippines, Amity's local partner KAISA reached out to Amity for help. After a thorough assessment of the situation with local partners on the ground, the Amity Foundation HK applied for life saving emergency relief funds according to the urgent needs of people affected by the natural disaster.
Various landslides could be spotted all over the mountainous region.
On the 3rd of October, the Hong Kong Disaster Relief Fund approved 548,000 HKD, through its fast track mechanism, to provide such goods to people suffering in the mountainous areas of the Cordillera. This region north of Manila suffered severe devastation due to the heavy rain and landslides.
Washed out streets and roadblocks exacerbated the access to the villages (left). Villagers clear the road to their village (right).
On 11 October an Amity team of three disaster relief staffers arrived in the Philippines. Until October 15, Amity distributed with support of local partners KAISA and CORDIS 2,300 packages of relief goods. Each pack included 5 gallons (ca. 19 l) of water, 10 kg of rice and 20 packages of noodles as well as 25 pieces of assorted canned food.
Amity and local partners distributed 2,300 packages of water, rice, instant noodles and canned food.
Two teams of Amity and local staff, working with various volunteers from the affected communities distributed the 2,300 packages of relief supplies at 13 different distribution points during the relief operation. Landslides and poor weather conditions made the access to the remote villages in the mountains challenging and dangerous.
Due to muddy mountain roods, the trucks stuck several times and relief supplies had to be unloaded (left). Villagers are gathering at a distribution point as the road is still blocked by debris of a landslide (right).
Villagers were especially happy, not only about the directly needed relief supplies, but also about the presence and efforts of organizations visiting their remote villages and witnessing their present state of living conditions. Amity staff learned that the region was exposed to torrential rains constantly. Additionally, typhoon Mangkut hit during the harvest season destroying 80% of the region's crops.
Workers using shovels to clean up a large devastated area caused by torrential rains and floods (left). A boy i looking after his family's relief goods (right).
“This is the worst”, says Marinella whose recent investments in organic farming has been completely destroyed. “Now I have to start all over again, little by little.” The fact that farmers lost all their income for the next three months, and the prohibition of all small-scale gold mining operations leaves the people of the region without future livelihood.
According to the needs, in particular young families and elderly received emergency goods (left). Villagers loading their jeepney with supplies for transport (right).
However, in the relief operation, Amity staff could experience a spirit of 'Bayanihan' which means in the Philippines that everybody comes together and supports each other in times of need. “In the worst times of disaster, we also experience the best moments of community and mutual support.” said one volunteers of a local NGO.
Villagers form a human-chain to lift the goods (left). A woman with a small baby receives relief supplies (right).
During the relief operation, the Amity Foundation coordinated and exchanged closely with the Philippine ACT Alliance forum and local ACT Alliance partners on the ground.
The emergency relief supplies were contributed by the people of Hong Kong through the Hong Kong Disaster Relief Fund.