In the aftermath of a disastrous landslide that occurred in the early morning of September 20, 2018 in Tinaan and Naalad, City of Naga, Cebu, the MHAM team delayed not to respond and extend assistance to the immediate needs of survivors in a collaborative relief operation dubbed as “Ayuda Para Paga” MHAM Relief Operation Campaign for Naga Landslide Victims.
With the overwhelming donated items coming from various government and non-government sectors which continued to pour in, the MHAM team composed with the Student Council, Student Advocates for Public Health and Environment (SAPHE) and Community Extension Services Office (CESO) spearheaded the donation drive to reach out to the neighboring city with the MHAM way.
Generously donated by the MHAM students, the donation includes assorted medicines, clothing and non-food items such as blankets, plastic mats, insect repellant and hygiene kits.
The horrifying catastrophe, with an estimated at least forty people who are still missing have left an unimaginable history in Cebu due to mining-induced and quarrying activities. With the rescuers’ week-long dig triggered by heavy rains in search for unrecovered bodies, a heartbreaking death toll rises at the moment to fifty-five resident-victims in the massive landslide-hit areas.
According to Mr. Jarvis Prochina who visited the tragic site and at Enan Chiong Activity Center together with the National Nutrition Council-R7, the need of hygiene kits is one of the lacking supplies needed by the evacuees most.
Prochina, who sits as a member of NNC-R7 Committee is also the current President of Philippine Association of Nurition (PAN) Cebu Chapter. The CESO Director was joined by AVP for Administration, Mr. Francisco Bacalla and HR Director, Mr. Pedro Pañares who were also present during the NNC-led briefing among action officers.
Driven by his innate holding ability to feel compassion excelled in service towards the needy, Mr. Prochina divulged that there were eleven evacuation centers that sheltered a number of lactating infants, children, pregnant women, adult, elderly and PWD survivors. The Enan Chiong Activity Center alone has one thousand five hundred thirty-six (1,536) families who need most of hygiene kits and toiletries.
“MHAM always profess its commitment in being an active participant in taking care and protecting our environment. MHAM may not be able to provide all the solutions and needs to the man-made catastrophe in the Naga landslide but our act of being one with the victims and other advocates magnify and validate this commitment. After having visited some of the evacuation centers and seen the tragic site, our assessment is for MHAM to delay its contribution as the Local Government was overwhelmed with loads of relief goods donations more than what they can pack and distribute. The looming challenge is how to sustain the relief assistance when the supplies of the first wave of donations are used up. On top of these, we have identified hygiene kits as our contribution at the evacuation centers as this is one of the lacking supplies needed by the evacuees”, Prochina said.
Based from the Surveillance and Monitoring Report, there were one thousand five hundred fourteen (1,514) males and one thousand four hundred thirty-two (1,432) females of which nineteen (19) are pregnant, seventy-one (71) are lactating infants with twenty-seven (27) PWD at Enan Chiong Activity Center.
In a separate interview with an aspiring doctor Eduardo Daan Jr., he stated that the significance of the donation drive is to provide immediate relief for the surviving victims and affected residents who are still traumatized by the incident where food and other basic human commodities are the most common need.
A resident of Consolacion, Cebu and a nurse by profession, 28-year old Daan, who is motivated to live with honor and service to his fellowmen as his life’s guiding motto was among the student-donors who fully believed that compassion and generosity are the things that renew humanity and work wonders.
“What happened in Barangay Tinaan, Naga is complex and highly unfortunate. As an aspiring doctor, in pains me to see such devastation and loss of lives. While in hindsight such tragedy was preventable, I feel that our focus for now is to help the victims in tangible ways with relief efforts including the assistance from MHAM. Donating to the causes you care about does not only benefits the people who are affected but it can be deeply rewarding for the donor too. The knowledge that you’re helping others is hugely empowering and, in turn, can make you feel happier and more fulfilled”, Daan said.
Looking forward to become a life saver with a mission to serve humanity which is the sole meaning of life, this first year student is unrelenting in pursuing his dream amidst the extremely demanding timetable in med school. “Few professions in life can be both a career and a vocation at the same time. Fewer still, make a direct impact on people’s well beings than being a good physician. Although I’m staggered by the academic work load at MHAM at this early stage, I believe this will not only strengthen my resolve to do and be better, but more importantly to rely on God’s grace to be able to weather through the relentless demands in medical school”, he added.
With the collaborative effort of CESO, SAPHE and Student Council, the donation will be turned-over next week to ABS-CBN Cebu’s Lingkod Kapamilya Relief Campaign which bridges between those who can help and those who need help from different natural and human-induced calamities.
While the continued search and retrieval operations for the missing victims are conducted by the authorities, the MHAM team is set to revisit the site with its aim to contribute aid to the victims to deliver the message of hope and compassion to the community during dreadful times.
Bounded with mutual valuing that resides in the hearts of every MHAM community member, the donation drive, with a sense of commitment is an endeavor that can spark someone’s soul in the midst of pain and loss because where there is love, humanity survives. (Ana Liza Abao)