Thursday, July 3, 2008

Sibuyanons Fear Unexpected Hunger

Due to the unexpected massive disaster of typhoon Frank, majority of houses along the coastal areas of Sibuyan Island were washed-out and damaged. In San Fernando town alone, an estimate of 1,900 households were affected.

Further, the possible contamination of endosulfan, other chemicals and fuel from the sunken M/V Princess of the stars endanger the life and livelihood of the island people. Sibuyanons depend mainly on the abundance of the sea through fishing and the agriculture industry had been vasty damaged.

Although the government has been focusing on the M/V Princess of the Stars tragedy, the fate of the island-people remains unnoticed and those who are totally affected have been for days neglected. The local government especially of San Fernando was right in saying that the people are victims, too, that they need food, shelter and clothing.

A school in a village called Mabini was totally damaged and still being used as an evacuation center and until now, no classes are conducted.

The biggest fear however is the hunger that the ramifications of the combined tragedies of the typhoon especially the chemical contaminations.

Hence, the Sibuyan Island Sentinels League for Environment, Inc. (Sibuyan ISLE), the only environmental organization on the island, strongly urge the national government, Sulpicio Lines, Del Monte, Bayer, among others to pursue a quick and efficient strategies and mechanisms to safeguard the lives of the people and preserve the rich biodiversity and abundance of our seas.

To quickly respond to the needs of the people, Sibuyan ISLE, Inc. in partnership with London-based Christian Aid, delivered 7.5 tons of relief goods to first 500 families who were gravely affected by the typhoon. Dubbed as SAM-Calamity Response (SAM-CARE) , the goods were distributed last Saturday (June 28, 2008) through the Social Action Centers and Basic Ecclesial Communities group of the parishes of the Vicariate of Sibuyan. Next week, more than 30 tons of relief goods shall be distributed to a targeted 708 totally washed-out households and more or less 2,000 affected families.

The SAM-CARE Task Force Sibuyan Relief Operation uses the international standard of conducting humanitarian relief activities through the Sphere Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response. The quick response relief operation started on June 23, 2008. The main objective is to reach out to the poorest of the poor. The criteria in choosing the beneficiaries are as follow:

- Poorest of the poor who have been affected by the floods and mudslides/waves.
- Households suffering severe loss;
- Landless, marginal farmers and day labourers affected by the floods
- Preferential treatment will be given to the following in the selection process:
- Female-headed households
- Women and widows
- Children – girls in particular
- Elderly
- People with disabilities
- Indigenous and tribal people
- People living with HIV/AIDS.

The Beneficiaries/ Reference People (RP) will be selected from the Emergency Rapid Assessment Surveys through the Christian Aid Rapid Response Assessment Team (CARRAT).

The three municipal councils--San Fernando, Magdiwang and Cajidiocan-- of Sibuyan Island had already issued resolutions declaring their respective towns as states of calamity.

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