Baggao families receive aid from World Vision

Days after typhoon Ompong devastated several agricultural towns in the province of Cagayan, a 10-hour drive from the Philippine capital of Manila, World Vision initially distributed hygiene kits to 700 families in communities in Tuao and Baggao.

“This is our initial assistance for the affected families to help them cope with their situation. The money they would spend in buying laundry or bath soaps, for instance, will be saved for food instead,” Felix Cinco, World Vision emergency response team leader in Cagayan.

The hygiene kit contains laundry and bath soaps, male and female underwear, malong, nail cutters, toothbrushes, and toothpastes, among others.

Melanie, 10, an Aeta who lives in one of the villages in Baggao, was happy to see the hygiene box. “It’s our first time to receive items such as this. These look nice!” she says, as she peeks inside the box. “That smells good,” she adds about the soap and laundry. Many of the establishments are still close in Melanie’s town making it difficult for the townspeople to buy basic necessities.

The siblings of Raisyenne, 14, is likewise happy to receive their first relief item that World Vision distributed in Baggao. “Thank you for your early Christmas present,” Raisyenne says of World Vision’s assistance as she and her siblings open the box.

Raisyenne has 12 siblings. Her father is a farmer. Without crops to harvest, her father, Jose, 53, stays home and waits for possible farm jobs offer. While waiting for a farm job, Raisyenne’s mother, Emily, 51, does laundry job for a family in a nearby town.

This is one of those months where we really have nothing on the table. Any types of help, like what you did, is welcome,” Raisyenne shares. Her mother earns around Php200 for a whole-day laundry job. Even on regular, non-typhoon days, Raisyenne works as store caretaker in the same family where her mother works. She earns Php100. “I gave the money to my parents. Sometimes, I buy my siblings with snacks.”

Of Raisyenne’s 12 siblings, 7 are already married, 3 are in school, and the 2 help in the farm — a typical big Filipino family setting in rural areas where children either get married or work early. “I wanted to become a teacher,” Raisyenne, says of her ambition. “I don’t want to be like this forever. That’s why I work part-time at that store.” None of Raisyenne’s older siblings and even her parents have reached college.

Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) has affected more than 1 million individuals in seven Philippine regions, the National Disaster Risk Reduction Council reports. Nearly 150,000 individuals are still evacuated.

World Vision is currently doing further discussions with local government officials on how to complement government efforts in assisting Typhoon Ompong affected families.

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