Student formations organize relief drive

Recent streak of typhoons, monsoon affects almost 100,000 families in ST
John Paul Omac with reports from Guien Eidrefson Garma

Tropical storm Maring may have left the country already, but certainly not without serious damages.

Heavy rains induced by Maring and southwest monsoon (habagat) flooded various provinces, destroyed several roads, and displaced thousands of individuals from their homes. Among the worst-hit areas were Southern Tagalog provinces such as Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal—all of which were immediately put under state of calamity.
According to the National Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), as of 6 a.m. of August 26, 81,887 families from 323 barangays in Region IV-A were affected by Maring and habagat. Bulk of the affected families came from Cavite and Laguna, where the most volume of rainfall was recorded.

Relief initiatives
In light of the calamity, UPLB students led relief and rehabilitation initiatives to aid those who were greatly affected by the flood after the onslaught of Tropical Storm Maring and habagat last week.

The University Student Council, in coordination with Gawad Kalinga – UP Los Baños and other College Student Councils, initiated efforts to help affected communities. The partnered efforts of the USC and GK were able to reach 570 families in Los Baños and 458 families in Bay.

Several schools and organizations, primarily from UPLB, also gathered under the banner of the Serve the People Brigade (STPB) to raise relief and rehabilitation efforts for people afflicted by the flood. STPB, which traces its roots from as early as 1972, is a network of organizations and volunteers aimed to help people affected by disasters. As of Friday, STPB already has a total of 146 donors and 149 volunteers from over 30 convener organizations.

STPB, which works under the region-wide network Southern Tagalog Serve the People Corps (STPC), also coordinates with volunteers from other provinces in Region IV-A.
The Graduate School Student Council holds a separate relief collection method, but will also bring their collections to the STPB. (More on page 3)

STPB has already distributed relief packs to almost 1,000 families from Los Baños and Bay, Laguna. Volunteers also conduct ocular inspections to assess the situation of nearby communities and determine the needs of the disaster victims.

Efforts not to end here
After Maring, another calamity threatens the Philippines. The low pressure area near Surigao del Norte in Mindanao has intensified into a tropical depression and has been named Nando. According to PAG-ASA, Nando may pour an estimate of moderate to heavy rainfall to the Bicol region, CALABARZON and the province of Aurora.

Given the looming disaster and the ongoing operations for the victims of Maring, organizers of the said relief initiatives still call for more donations and volunteers.

The USC is now bringing their relief efforts to Biñan, Laguna. They will be distributing relief packs to affected families on Thursday, August 28.

Meanwhile, STPB is still urging for individuals to donate or volunteer in order to help the most number of victims. Interested groups or individuals may proceed to the Physical Center at Vega Center. For inquiries, volunteers and donors may contact Third (09152768715) or Kikay (09358702805). [P]

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