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Monday, December 16, 2013

Third SOS solidarity mission off to Eastern Samar

The third solidarity mission of health disaster group Samahang Operasyon Sagip (SOS) is travelling again to Eastern Samar to reach the upland areas of Quinapondan, Giporlos, and Balangiga in Eastern Samar today, December 17 until the 22nd.  These communities very scarcely received relief and medical assistance since the onslaught of typhoon Haiyan.

SOS President Rosalinda C. Tablang announced that for the third wave of relief and medical mission efforts, they will be serving at least 1,500 families in barangays Sto. Niño, Catilian, and Anislag in Quinapondan; barangays Roxas, Huknan, 6, and 7 in Giporlos and; barangays Gimmayuhan, Cansumangkay, and Bunga in Balangiga -- all in Eastern Samar province.

In the midst of all the merry-making and warm heartedness this Yuletide season, Tablang appealed to “kind souls who may find joy in giving.”  “Not everybody may have as much in their pockets, but in so many other ways, each one can help,” she added.

“Aside from the family food packs that consist of 8 kilos rice, 5 pieces canned goods, ½ kg sugar, ½ L cooking oil, ½ kg mung beans, ¼ kg salt, ½ kg dried fish, and ½ bar laundry detergent, we are also bringing hygiene kits, plastic sheets, nails, flashlights, candles, and matches,” she said.

Tablang expressed that aside from the relief packs, the communities requested for simple construction materials to enable them to build their modest shelters anew.  “We are also bringing some gasoline to power the community chainsaw because the people want to rebuild their bridge in Barangay Huknan that was toppled down by [typhoon] Haiyan,” she noted.

SOS volunteers are also packing donated blankets, personal hygiene kits including sanitary napkins and jerry cans for potable water storage.

For the medical mission, the SOS team is headed by four doctors, including an infectious disease specialist from the United States, and several nurses.  

Together with the communities in Leyte and Samar in the Visayas, SOS is untiringly calling for immediate and comprehensive rehabilitation efforts.  

The continuous medical and relief missions of SOS are made possible through the kindness of donors, from all ages and all walks of life, here and abroad.  SOS is continuing its resource generation drives for the long term rehabilitation of affected communities in Leyte and Samar.  For inquiries, please contact Mel, 0947-4535788 or Grace, (+632) 929-8109.  They may also be emailed at

Sunday, December 15, 2013

SOS Continues Response to Typhoon Yolanda Aftermath

 You may read the SOS Newsletter Issue 2 here or
or download it here

One month after Typhoon Yolanda’s onslaught, the fate of millions is still in limbo. With victims of the super typhoon facing homelessness, joblessness and hunger, the Samahang Operasyong Sagip (SOS) continues its efforts in helping them get back on their feet once more.

The second series of medical missions and relief drive operations were conducted in 9 barangays in the 3 municipalities of Leyte- Albuera, Ormoc and Kananga. A total of 41 individuals, 5  of which were doctors, 11 nurses, 3 medical interns, and health workers and volunteers from Leyte-Samar, Manila, Surigao del Sur, Cebu, and United States of America comprised the medical and relief mission team.  They were divided into 2 medical mission teams and 1 relief distribution team. 

Families from far-flung areas outside the town centers ,who have received few or no relief assistance and medical mission since the typhoon, were chosen for the medical missions and relief drive operations.

A total of 1,942 patients from Barangays Tinag-an, Antipolo and Mahayag in the Municipality of Albuera; Barangays Lunoy, Sto. Domingo and Natubgan in the Municipality of Kananga; and Barangay Ipil in Ormoc were served. Meanwhile, the relief drive operations benefitted 1,436 families from selected barangays in the towns of Albuera, Ormoc, and Kananga. They were able to receive relief packs, plastic sheets, building materials like nails, saw, hammers, cooking pots, and used clothes. Three water filtration pails were given to representatives of the three towns for use of the communities.

The most common medical cases included upper respiratory tract infections, hypertension, wounds or injuries, skin infections, acute gastro enteritis, diarrheal diseases, tension headache and insomnia. These ailments were also observed in the first wave of SOS medical missions in Eastern and Western Samar. The people in Tinag-an, Albuera requested for psychosocial assistance and tetanus toxoid for wounds sustained during the repairing and rebuilding of their homes.

Major health risks which could lead to serious disease outbreaks were noted. These include the lack of potable water supply, as observed in Barangay Ipil, Ormoc; Lack of adequate and safe shelter and housing; Lack of electricity make night time pitch black and movement in the areas difficult and dangerous; Undernourished children, and; Presence of stagnant water and debris, which are breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other carriers of diseases.

Most people in affected barangays have been trying to rebuild their homes and lives, yet many, especially those far from town centers, are still in dire need of assistance such as food, supplies and construction  materials. It is pertinent that they be part of the planning and actual implementation in the relief and rehabilitation efforts so as to ensure relevance of relief efforts and medical services.

We thus recommend the following:

      1. Government’s relief and medical assistance should include far-flung barangays.
      2. Assistance for people to rebuild their homes and communities, through provision of construction materials including GI sheets, nails, hammer, saw, etc. For sale construction materials promoted by DTI could not be afforded by many especially those whose livelihood was affected.

     3. Immediate and comprehensive health interventions to address potential sources of outbreaks and epidemics. These include immediate clearing of debris, provision of a safe water source, construction of shelter, assistance in food production and livelihood.

      4. Assistance for livelihood and rehabilitation- provision of construction materials, livelihood, food production, and economic activities.  ##

Friday, December 13, 2013

Pre-school raising funds for storm ravaged area

(Here is a an article originally published in The Kapiti Observer (12/12/13) and posted in the Facebook account of Marie Pagalilauan, a pre-school teacher of 3 to 5 year olds at Little Earth Montessori in New Zealand)

Little Earth Montessori pupils have been learning about compassion through fundraising efforts to help those affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Parents at the Paraparaumu are holding a garage sale to raise money for the storm-ravaged nation on Sunday, December 15, at the Waikanae Beach Hall. Donated items will be sold on a "make an offer" basis. Further donation can be dropped off on Saturday, December 14, between 4pm and 8pm at the hall.

Proceeds will go to the Philippine non-government organization, Samahang Operasyong Sagip, to provide relief, medical and livelihood assistance to remote communities devastated by the storm, said spokeswoman Mayie Pagalilauan, who comes from the Philippines.

The pre-school also held a fundraising Filipino afternoon tea last month, where children and families got a taste of Filipino culture, through food, dancing by Munting Bayanihan Dance Ministry, and songs by teenage group Jizzles.

Little Earth Montessori students Tom Weber (left), 4 yo, and Millie Bonos (right), 4 yo,
served suman at the "A Pinoy Afternoon Tea"

The school has raised more than $1000.

Miss Pagalilauan said some children had volunteered to bring all their savings from their money banks to help the Filipino children who have no food or clean water.

The genuine generosity of the children moved me to tears and inspired me to do as much as i can to help my countrymen," she said.

She said the spirit of compassion and love shown by New Zealand had been very moving.

"Each one is doing their best to reach out and help in their own special way," she said.

"In the the Philippines, we call this bayanihan spirit...It is a spirit of mutual help and concern which has become the backbone of family and village life throughout the Philippine archipelago."

Fundraising garage sale, Sunday, 7:30 am to 1:30 pm, Waikanae Beach Hall.##

(Photo from Marie Pagalilauan's Facebook account)

(Photo from Marie Pagalilauan's Facebook account)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Second batch of relief and medical mission sent to Leyte

The second batch of relief and medical mission traveled to Leyte today to serve 1,500 families in three affected towns of Leyte.

The teams, composed  of 4 medical doctors, 10 nurses, and 9 health workers will bring aid to Alboera, Ormoc, and Kanangga in Leyte province.  The mission will start today, December 5, until December 9.

Council for Health and Development's (CHD) Board of Trustees secretary and former chairperson Sr. Edith Eslopor, OSB reported that the Missionary Benedictine Sisters run St. Peter's College of Ormoc in Ormoc City suffered a considerable amount of damage displacing thousands of its students.  Sr. Edith is among the SOS coordinators together with community based health program Health Empowerment and Action for Leyte and Samar (HEALS) in the Leyte mission.