[Urgent Alert] An urgent call to help millions affected by continuous torrential rains and flooding caused by Tropical Storm Trami -AHRC

PHILIPPINES: An urgent call to help millions affected by continuous torrential rains and flooding caused by Tropical Storm Trami

Asian Human Rights Commission

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding massive disruptions to normal life caused by Tropical Storm Trami (known in Philippines as Maring). The situation, unfortunately, has merely worsened by the Southwest Moonsoon or Habagat. As of now, data puts the number of affected at around 402, 415 families and 1, 928, 685 individuals spread over 16 provinces.

CASE NARRATIVE:
Over the last few weeks, the Philippines has suffered massive devastation caused by torrential rains and flooding as a consequence of Tropical Storm “Maring” (international code name: Trami). The situation was further worsened by the Southwest Moonsoon or Habagat. The areas worst affected fall in the National Capital Region (NCR) and include the Greater Metro Manila area. The rains and flooding has also seriously affected Luzon and the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR).

Estimates put the total number of affected at 402,415 families and 1,928,685 individuals. The extent of the devastation can be gauged by its geographical spread. The data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) shows that the storm has affected a total of 1,549 barangays of 123 municipalities, 33 cities, and 16 provinces. Out of these Laguna and Cavite are the worst hit by the flooding and a state of calamity had been declared there.

The situation went particularly bad on August 19-20 when relentless rains caused floodwaters as high as 2.5 meters rendering most of the major thoroughfares in Metro Manila impassable. The roads closed included South Luzon Expressway, Aguinaldo Highway and roads linking Bacoor to Zapote and Noveleta to Rosario. The rainfall was heavy and measured around 10-40 mm per hour. That is classified by the government’s weather agency, PAG-ASA as heavy to torrential rainfall.

The rains and flooding caused the collapse of a dam in Tanza, Cavite resulting in flash floods in nearby areas. Similarly, data from the Rosario Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RMDRRMC) shows that the disaster has affected 21,307 out of the total 36,805 families living in the area.

The floods have seriously affected the livelihoods of people and those dependent upon daily wages are the worst hit. Fisher folks have particularly suffered in this case as many of them have had no catch for more than three weeks now. An oil spill caused by a leaky marine pipeline of the Petron Corporation, an oil company with a depot in the municipality, has necessitated the declaration of a state of calamity in the coastal areas of Rosario, Cavite since August 8, 2013. They have not been able to fish ever since. The oil spill has affected 9 barangays in Rosario, 14 in Tanza, and 9 barangays in Naic. The Petron Corp. is now jointly owned by Ashmore Group, a London-listed investment group and the San Miguel Corp.

The oil spill forced the local government to immediately suspend fishing activities in the affected areas. However, by the time the areas were clearing up rains started on 17 August and slowly developed into a tropical storm, forcing the fishermen indoors. The food security of these fisher folks is seriously affected as they depend on a daily catch for their survival.

The situation was similar in Kawit in Noveleta and Sta. Rosa in Cavite City which experienced waist-deep floodwaters rendering the major thoroughfares impassable for almost two days. It hampered the transportation of basic goods and services and also the normal routes of passenger vehicles. Further, all the companies in the Cavite Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) suspended their operations on Monday, 19 August when the storm started to bring in floodwaters inside the zone. The flood situation deteriorated the following day when almost all the companies were flooded to different degrees. The inundation did not merely cause damage to the companies but also made them suspend their work for almost a week, leaving the poor workers in trouble as most of them work under a ‘no work no pay’policy. For its part, even the government has not announced any compensation for the workers, thus making their lives even more difficult.

The fact that Southwest Monsoon rains continues to pour down coupled with the PAG-ASA’s warning of two to three tropical storms hitting the area in the coming weeks has further deteriorate the situation. It is in this context that Workers Assistance Center, Inc, our partner organization has appealed for immediate relief and financial support for, and on behalf of the workers, the fisher folk and the urban poor communities in Cavite. The Centre need food, potable and clean water, mats and blankets and medicines and would focus on helping the most affected workers and their immediate families in the coastal communities here in Cavite.

You can send cash donations as well as the material needed on following accounts. Please remember that you can make donations in almost all important currencies.

Account Name: Workers Assistance Center, Inc,
Account Number: 1004-0178-85
Bank’s Name: Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Rosario Branch, Cavite
Address: General Trias Drive, Rosario, Cavite, Philippines
Swift Code: BOPI PH MM

For other support and materials, please send it to:
Workers Assistance Center, Inc.,
BAHAY MANGGAGAWA, Indian Mango St., Manggahan Cpd.,
Sapa I, 4106 Rosario,
Cavite, Philippines.
Tel: +63 46 884-00-76; Telefax: +63 46 438-47-36.
Emails: wacphilippines@yahoo.com.ph or wacphilippines@gmail.com

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please make donations at the address given above.

Thank you

Hunger Alerts Programme
Right to Food Programme (foodjustice@ahrc.asia)
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

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