• Loading

Risk of epidemics in flood hit Manila, warn Christian Aid

August 10 2012 - Christian Aid is deeply concerned about the growing risk of health epidemics amongst the hundreds of thousands of people in Manila made homeless by the floods.

‘Rain continues in the flood devastated capital where communities have endured days exposed to the wet weather and living in damp and overcrowded environments,’ said Ted Bonpin, Christian Aid country manager for the Philippines.

‘There are increasing reports of fevers, coughs and colds which could turn into serious epidemics given the current situation. There are concerns too about tetanus and other infections caused by rats, and snake bites. ’

Continuous downpour for twelve days led to landslides and flash floods which killed 19 people and left half of the capital underwater. Poor urban and fishing communities along rivers, lakes and coasts have been particularly hard hit.

Half a million people who fled their homes are now staying with families and friends or in one of the hundreds of evacuation centres which have been set up around the sodden city.

There is also a fear among the urban poor that those who lived in informal settlements built in hazardous areas prone to land slides and flooding will be permanently displaced.

Although some families have begun to return to their homes, heavy rains are forecast for the next few months which could displace them once again.

‘Working through local organisations in Manila, Christian Aid is  providing immediate relief items, such as basic food, medicines and blankets, to people in evacuation centers,’ added Ted.

‘As well as our partners’ work in the centres, local government workers are providing hot food, a godsend for these poor communities whose lives have been turned upside down.’

The deadly rains have been brought by tropical storm Haikui which followed a week after Typhoon Saula in which 50 people died.

The Philippines usually has about 20 major storms and typhoons a year, which frequently cause flooding which is often exacerbated by deforestation and logging upstream, causing landslides and flash floods.

In the latest floods, thousands of houses have been completely destroyed and families may wait several months before they are rehoused.

Christian Aid will be working with local organisations to help provide building materials to restore their homes again.

Donate: we have already provided £50,000 for immediate response to flooding in the Philippines, please help us to respond to this and future emergencies.

More information

If you would like further information please contact Jo Rogers at jrogers@christian-aid.org or 0207 523 2460, or Melanie Smith at msmith@christian-aid.org or 0207 523 2416.  24 hour press duty phone – 07850 242950  

Photographs available: http://www.flickr.com/photos/christianaidimages/sets/72157630955800034/  

Podcast by Adrian Ouvry, humanitarian programmes unit manager: http://audioboo.fm/boos/912184  

Podcast by Emma Wigley, press officer: http://audioboo.fm/boos/912145

Notes to editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in 47 countries. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people build the lives they deserve.

2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. Our report, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end poverty.  Details at http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/poverty-over-report.pdf

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 100 churches and church-related organisations that work together inhumanitarian assistance and development.  Further details at http://www.actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.org.uk

Latest emergency

Help 10 million people at risk of hunger in Ethiopia.

GB Pounds (GBP)