In the midst of two consecutive major health emergencies, the province of Batangas in the Philippines is home to one of the most at-risk populations in the world. Relief International is ramping up its emergency response in the region, following the eruption of the Taal Volcano in January 2020 and the outbreak of COVID-19 only a few short weeks later.
It has been six months since the Taal Volcano erupted province of Batangas, yet its effects on the thousands of Filipino families who were displaced and lost their homes and livelihoods are far from over. Their situation is further aggravated by the spread of COVID-19 in the country, which has more than 57,000 confirmed cases and 1,600 deaths as of July 2020.
Those forced from their homes live in cramped makeshift settlements, making social distancing an additional challenge. As typhoon season approaches, threats of further natural disasters loom large over Batangas and surrounding regions.
Relief International’s emergency response teams, with support from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, are working around the clock to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus while also providing critical relief for families affected by the volcano eruption.
We are providing multi-purpose cash assistance to the families in municipalities of Agonillo and San Nicolas hardest hit by these two major crises, so that they may meet their most urgent needs. To date, our cash assistance program has helped more than 1,250 people in Batangas with cash assistance.
Our teams are also ramping up our COVID-19 response, which includes distributing first aid kits, raising awareness about commonly observed symptoms, and educating families how to protect themselves against the virus. We are working alongside local community health workers and the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams to promote preventative measures, such as social distancing, face masks, and handwashing among at-risk communities.
As the varied consequences of the Taal Volcano eruption and the ongoing global pandemic continue to make themselves known, we will continue to reach out to the community in order to better understand their needs, bolster recovery, and build resilience.
PHILIPPINES – Batangas Province, Luzon
- Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene