Philippines: Interfaith Organisations join Balsa Mindanao relief efforts
DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 28, 2011) – Various Philippine organizations have launched Wednesday the “Balsa Mindanao” or Bulig Alang sa Mindanao, a relief and rehabilitation campaign aimed at helping the victims of deadly tropical storm Washi that devastated the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.
The storm left a trail of destruction and over 1,200 people dead in northern Mindanao.
Some 200 participants from Mindanao joined the campaign led by the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao and Panday Bulig disaster-response together with Panalipdan Mindanao, Sisters’ Association in Mindanao, Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc, Initiatives for Peace in Mindanao, Makabayan Coalition, and Children’s Rehabilitation Center.
The group brings in this Advent season the Filipino spirit of bayanihan for the community. Deriving its name from Balsa - a term for a wooden raft - symbolizes the united journey of Mindanao people to support each other in times of disaster.
Balsa will bring relief, medical and psychosocial services to flood survivors in Cagayan de Oro on Thursday and in Iligan City on Wednesday. Not only will they visit the evacuation centers, but they will go to different villages to look into the needs of the residents.
Relief goods such as potable water, food packs, medicines, clothes, blankets and cooking utensils from Davao City, General Santos City, North Cotabato, Zamboanga and Butuan City would be distributed in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.
The ‘psychosocial release’ aims to unleash fears and trauma experienced by the victims. “This therapy is basically important in times of post disaster so that victims will have a better way to cope up with the trauma,” said Girlie dela Cerna, Davao City coordinator of the Children Rehabilitation Center.
Ariel Casilao, regional coordinator of Makabayan Coalition and Convenor of Balsa, said that aside from the immediate relief services, the group “strongly urges the government to have an immediate rehabilitation plan for areas affected by the disasters.”
Source: Mindanao Examiner
Photo Credit: Mindanao Examiner
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