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World Vision responds to Typhoon Megi and flooding in Taiwan (10/23/10)

Typhoon Megi ravaged eastern Taiwan in the last two days causing severe flooding in Yilan County. Earlier this week, the same typhoon devastated Philippines and affected over one million people. Incessant rains also impacted Southeast Asian countries, Thailand and Laos, over the last two weeks, with a total of 350,000 people affected. World Vision offices across Asia are responding to these humanitarian disasters with immediate relief. World Vision Taiwan aims to raise NT$14 million to support the initial emergency responses in Taiwan and the other affected countries.
With rains diminishing this morning, more than 100 World Vision social workers and volunteers began to help affected families along both sides of Chungshan Road in Suao Township in Yilan County to clean up mud and debris.
According to World Vision East Area Office Manager, Kelly Chen, house-cleaning support and financial assistance will be provided to 86 affected families. Further support will also be provided through child sponsorship, depending on specific needs of the hardest hit families.
Typhoon Megi had dumped record level rains and triggered floods and mudslides in Yilan County.
"I’ve never seen such heavy rains in my life!” exclaimed 80-year old Mr. Chang.
Mr. Chang’s house flooded to nearly two meters high. He recalled, “The downpour was like being dumped from a washbowl, and the raindrops were so big! I had never expected the flooding to be like this, so I wasn’t prepared.”
The furniture in Mr. Chang’s house was saturated and covered by mud. He said gratefully, "Without [World Vision's] help, I won’t be able to find a clean space to sleep in tonight.”
On October 18 Typhoon Megi struck Cagayan, Isabela, Kalinga, Mt. Province and Ifugao provinces in northern Philippines, resulting in flash floods, landslides, damage to homes, basic infrastructure and crops.
"Papa, our house is about to fly!” shouted four-year-old sponsored child, Jimby, when Typhoon Megi hit his hometown, Gamu, in Isabela Province, Philippines.
Jimby’s father, Jimmy, recalled how he took his wife and two sons to run to his mother’s house when their small home was about to fly into the air. He said, “All our things, cookware and all, except for the clothes we brought with us, were blown away with it (the house).”
"We were not able to eat breakfast and lunch the day after typhoon, “ said Jimmy, “All firewood was wet and we had nothing to cook. It’s fortunate that we were able to receive rice and relief goods in the afternoon, and we were able to prepare some porridge. We had to scuttle some wood from my mother’s house for firewood.”
World Vision Philippines has distributed relief packs of rice, mongo beans, choco drink, dried fish, biscuits, sardines, sugar, oil and water. Non-food items including mosquito net, blanket, mats and school materials were also provided. To help people rebuild their homes, World Vision will also provide GI sheets, marine plywood, nails and carpentry tools. Medical services and activities for children will be facilitated.
World Vision Philippines will target 30,500 families (152,500 people) in six municipalities in Isabela Province with a five-month emergency response. The relief work will include distribution of food and non-food items, house repairing and reconstruction, medical care, livelihood recovery, education, and psychosocial support.
350,000 people were affected by flooding in Thailand and Laos
The worst flooding in 50 years started to hit Nakhon Ratchasima Province, 450 km northeast of Thailand’s capital city Bangkok since October 15. About 300,000 people were impacted with 7 deaths reported. Hospitals and clinics were filled with floodwater; crops, livestock, dairy farms, housing and industrial estates suffered extensive damage.
World Vision Thailand distributed 1,400 emergency relief packs in the first three days. Each pack contained bottled water, rice, noodles, tinned fish, vegetable oil, torchlight, candles, soap, toothpaste, washing powder, sanitary napkins and medicines.
World Vision Thailand also coordinated with a local church to deliver 900 boxes of cooked food and 400 sets of bread to other affected communities.
"We are grateful for the numerous volunteers, sponsored children and their families who instinctively joined us, working till long after midnight to pack the 1,400 parcels,” said World Vision Thailand’s relief coordinator , Sarawut Rachasrimuang. He added, “We are preparing a rehabilitation program to support the worst affected communities for at least the next one to two months.”
In neighboring Laos, flooding that started on October 6 affected at least 40 villages in Attapeu, Champassak, Khammouane and Savannakhet provinces. An estimated 50,000 people were affected in the two worst hit provinces of Khammouane and Savannakhet, reported to be even worse than the Ketsana impact.
World Vision Laos has distributed relief packs consisting of food, water, nedicine, blankets and candles. Initial emergency assistance for 90 days targets 37,914 beneficiaries and will transition to recovery and rehabilitation phase until June 2011.
"We see the immediate need of crop seeds, tools and agricultural support to help people recover as soon as they can,” said World Vision Laos Operations Director, Grant Power.
Looming food insecurity threatens to bring long-lasting impact.
Natural disasters have caused intensive destruction in Taiwan and across Asia due to climate change effects. World Vision Taiwan Executive Director, Hank Du, said that Taiwan and Philippines, with the highest occurrences of typhoons in Asia, are among the most vulnerable countries with greatest numbers of climate change refugees.
In response to the major disasters that struck Asia since the beginning of October, World Vision Taiwan plans to raise NT$13,400,000 in the initial relief phase – NT$4,000,000 for Taiwan, NT$8,000,000 for Philippines, NT$600,000 for Thailand and NT$800,000 for Laos.


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