The wrath of Typhoon Bopha (Philippine name Pablo) has left countless families displaced and whole communities totally devastated in Mindanao. In Davao Oriental, 115 barangays with more than 15,500 families were affected. In Compostela Valley, 164 barangays with an estimated count of 41,700 families were affected. Davao del Sur and Davao del Norte Provinces have 70 barangays affected with an estimated count of 17,500 families left in distress. To date, 350,000 individuals from these provinces are imploring for any form of assistance to subsist in their current situation and to rebuild their lives. The death toll is still steadily rising, and hundreds are still missing. Countless individuals lost their loved ones in rushing mud and water, and the missing persons are feared to be also buried in mud. The passing days with no news about the missing persons equates to their loved ones slowly losing hope on their retrieval.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and United Youth of the Philippines-Women (UnYPhil-Women) is currently conducting relief missions in the municipalities of Montevista and Monkaya in Compostela Valley Province, and in the municipalities of Baganga and Cateel in Davao Oriental Province. Shovels, garden hoes, jerry cans, plastic rolls and sheets, pails, kitchen sets, ropes, and blankets were distributed in the mentioned municipalities. Hundreds of families reached these non-food items, however, thousands of families still needs to be assisted. Local government units, state departments, and international and national non-government organizations are working hand-in-hand in continuously providing the immediate needs of the disaster-affected communities.

The UNHCR and UnYPhil-Women are committed on providing immediate relief and protection to communities that are disaster-affected, whether natural calamity or man-made disaster. Typhoon Bopha is considered to be the hardest typhoon to hit Mindanao. It entails the commitment of all concerned groups, especially local government units, to entrench disaster preparedness system and early warning devices to circumvent, or at the least mitigate, the deadly effects of natural calamities in the future. But every individual is encouraged to respond to the tragedy that befell our country. Aside from the items that can greatly provide relief to the immediate concerns of the affected communities, a more comprehensive program for reconstruction and rehabilitation is imperative in the most hard-hit municipalities.

UnYPhil-Women and the Bangsamoro community are united with our Christian, Muslim and IP brothers and sisters in this extremely difficult time, and we are ardently hoping for the soonest recovery of the disaster-affected families and individuals in Mindanao.

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