Press Release
February 21, 2008

Gordon to visit Eastern Samar to bring aid

When it rains, it pours. But in 279 barangays surrounding the banks of rivers Loom, Can-obing, Camada and Surok in Eastern Samar, the heavy, continuous downpour of rain on Friday has brought them floods and with the floods came devastation. Perhaps spelling the beginning of another cycle of poverty and disaster. As of noon yesterday, the PNRC Eastern Samar reported that 27,414 families have been affected and help is slow in coming as major roads along with bridges have either been buried in mud or washed away.

Philippine National Red Cross Chairman and Senator Richard J. Gordon will be visiting the flooded villages in Borongan, Eastern Samar today to personally survey the damage caused by heavy rains and flooding as well as to oversee the distribution of relief goods. Red Cross will provide disaster relief goods and services to 4,000 people in Eastern Samar and 1,000 people in Leyte.

"We have more and more of these massive floodings ever year. More than the denudation of our forests, the floods in Eastern Samar is the effect of climate change. Heavier and more frequent rains that bring about massive flooding is just one of the manifestations of climate change and we can expect to see other manifestations in the coming years. As Red Cross Chairman and as Senator, I have been urging government to create a unified and comprehensive program to address the effects of climate change. We can't allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we must break the cycle of disaster and poverty,"

Already, the Red Cross has sent an estimated total of P1,000,000 worth of relief goods (comprising health kits, clothing, generator sets, food and essential non-food items) for 750 families since the floods started. In addition to the relief goods, tents and water bladders for potable water have been prepared for delivery. Right after flooding struck low lying villages in Eastern Samar, the PNRC sent teams right away to provide needed services and distribute relief goods to 350 families or 1,241 persons in two (2) evacuation centers. The PNRC Chapter in Eastern Samar reports that roads have been buried by landslides; the Mc Arthur Bridge that connects Mc Arthur Municipality to Borongan City and to the airport as well have collapsed. This has hampered the PNRC's efforts to deliver relief goods through the Borongan and Tacloban Airports.

PNRC Chairman Gordon has informed Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Hermogenes Edejer Ebdane, Jr. and Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro of the situation, calling on them to send pay loaders and other heavy equipment to open up the roads of Northern Borongan and Eastern Samar and dispatch "Engineering Units" to undertake the immediate repair of the Mc Arthur Bridge.

Gordon also sent psychosocial support and health team from the PNRC National Headquarters (NHQ) in Manila to provide evacuees with stress debriefing. The NHQ also sent a 3-man assessment team in order to find out if the PNRC needs to mobilize additional disaster management and relief teams.

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