Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bring aid directly to people of remote quake hit areas

By Carla Gomez

Bring the food and water directly to the people of remote earthquake hit areas of Negros Oriental before they die from hunger. That was what representatives of non government groups delivering aid to the area appealed yesterday. The people of La Libertad and Guihulgan are also urgently in need of psychosocial therapy to lessen their trauma, especially the children, they also said.

Girlie Cabailo, a nurse of the Negros Island Health Integrated Program, said their two mountain clinics in Guihulngan were destroyed by the earthquake, but they continue to deliver health services to the people in the remote areas affected.

She said most of the adults they treated were suffering from hypertension and hyperacidity, brought about by trauma.

Children drop to the ground, shiver and weep every time an aftershock occurs, Roan Tuayon of the Children’s Rehabilitation Center also said. They need urgent help to cope with their trauma on top of the other ailments they are suffering from, such as colds and fever brought about by being exposed, without having place to live in, Cabailo said.

The people are living beneath tarpaulins with old rice sacks and cardboard for their beds, she said.

They need blankets, clothes, food, medicines, cooking utensils, tents and water that government is not getting to them fast enough, she said, pointing out that many living in remote areas have not been reached by relief goods.

Cabailo, Tuayon and members of Bayan Negros held a press conference in Bacolod City yesterday to launch “Oplan Help Negros”, a network of organizations spearheaded Rural Missionaries of the Philippines and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Negros delivering relief and medical services to affected communities in Barangay Planas in Guihulngan, Bayan Negros secretary general Christian Tuayon, said. They also aim to deliver assistance to La Libertad next.

He said they recorded 56 destroyed houses and farms, 23 damaged houses, with 23 still missing in Planas. The impoverished situation of the people in Barangay Planas has been worsened by the earthquake, Tuayon said. “If before they struggled for land to till to alleviate themselves from hunger, now they struggle to survive the killer landslide that claimed many lives, including innocent children,” he added.

The relief operations in Guihulgan has been very, very slow, the aid distribution in the first few days after the quake had been concentrated in the house of the mayor, he said. He also noted that relief assistance from the Capitol bore the name of Gov. Roel Degamo on the packages.

Don’t politicize relief operations, spare the victims of the earthquake from politics, prioritize the people,” he appealed.

Meanwhile, Guihulngan City Mayor has denied allegations of slow distribution of relief goods (Story on Oriental Page).

Tuayon also called on government agencies and the private sector to deliver the aid directly to the people. Don’t go through the politicians who are more interested in 2013 than the people, Evidente said. Let us all help each other rebuild communities in Guihulgan without politics, he said.

Marilou Alangilan of the the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and a resident of Barangay Buenavista, Guihulngan, said the president went to Guihulghan to deliver help but it has not reached the people in remote villages. We were told he gave food for work. How can people work at this time when they are worrying about where and how to rebuild their homes, she said.

Cabailo said those who wish to send relief assistance to the earthquake victims through the Negros Island Health Integrated Program [NIHIP] may bring it to their office in Purok Kabulakan, Torre Compound, Barangay Singcang Airport, Bacolod.