Philippines: Making sure no one is left behind

(NC) -- "Wala iwanan". That was the phase cbm co-workers heard time and time again in the days following Typhoon Haiyan. It means “no-one is left behind".

It's to this end that cbm's emergency response unit has been working closely with its local partners and government authorities in Iloilo province to meet the needs of families living with the double challenge of poverty and disability.

“We know from years of experience that people with a disability are all too often left behind – especially in emergency situations,” says Ed Epp, Executive Director of cbm Canada. “When was the last time you saw a person with crutches or in a wheelchair in a food distribution line on the nightly news?”

cbm is distributing survival kits to 3,000 families – those with a parent or child with a disability, single-parent households, elderly people, and those living in poverty.

Flora Piel's family is one of the recipients.

As Typhoon Haiyan ripped through her village, the single mom was determined to save the lives of her two teenaged boys.

“When the typhoon came, I was very afraid for my children,” says Flora. “I knew I had to get them to safety. They cannot talk and can only walk short distances. I was afraid that if the water came, they would die.”

Both Jesson,14 and Jeboy,17, have communication challenges and reduced mobility so Flora carried them, one at a time, to an evacuation centre one kilometre from her home.

Flora lost her house, her clothes and her belongings, but she is grateful her sons are both safe and alive.

Nearly 13 million people have been affected by the typhoon's destruction, and more than three million people are displaced. To date, 4,460 deaths have been reported.

Canadians can help desperate people in the Philippines: or by calling 1-800-567-2264.

The Canadian government has agreed to match any donation to the Philippines.


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