Tuesday, September 29, 2009

CERV mobilizes for flood victims

CERV mobilized volunteers and participated in relief operations for the victims of the latest calamity to hit the Philippines.

While asking and collecting relief donations for victims of Typhoon ‘Ondoy’ (international name: Ketsana) CERV was approached by British tourist Simon Wood (Newcastle) and Filipina nursing student Hart Odorna offering to help in repacking relief items.

Simon and Hart immediately started work sorting clothing and repacking food items at a disaster response center in Quezon City.  The next day they distributed items at two of the hardest hit areas in Pasig and Marikina cities.

Facebook and other internet sites also proved useful when former volunteers started checking in and promising to help.  Rachel Groen (Canada) was the first to pledge financial aid.

CERV itself was not spared from the effects of the deluge as its Quezon City office and dormitory was flooded.  Photos, files and some furniture were damaged as floodwaters entered the ground floor.

CERV trustee Karen Villanueva, a public high school teacher, and her students escaped rampaging waters last Saturday by scaling walls and crossing roofs to reach a nearby three-storey house.  Together with about a hundred victims, they were trapped for two days and nights, subsisting on the kindness of their accidental host and neighbors who shared everything they had until the waters subsided.

Director Raymund Villanueva later participated in one of the earliest relief operations in a CERV beneficiary community called Sitio Veterans in Quezon City.

‘Ondoy’ dumped 410 inches of rain in merely nine hours last September 27.  In comparison, Hurricane Katrina dumped “only” 380 inches over a longer period in Louisiana.

To date, more than 80 have been reported killed while dozens are still missing.  More than a hundred thousand victims are staying in evacuation centers in Manila and neighboring areas.

CERV accepts cash donations for victims of ‘Ondoy’.  Please email us at cerv_philippines@yahoo.com.ph for details.


Nerve Macaspac

 We lost everything in a day.

We have lost the warmth
Of our homes
Of our kid’s laughter
Of our parent’s embrace.

We lost the fiesta of the sunset
The anticipation of the rush hour
The joy of coming home
The aroma of home-cooked dinner.

In that fearful long day,
Our tired clenched soul
Waded through the river of sadness.
There were no rocks to hold onto
Only our loved ones’ names
That we kept reciting
Between our gasps and strokes.

The flood rose higher
With more and more people
Plunging to look for their shores
Reciting names, ages, schools, offices,
Illnesses, highways, rooftops, buses.

With each word as heavy as the gravity of the rain.
With each word as heavy as the gravity of our tears.

= = = = =

The poet is a colleague of CERV director Raymund Villanueva.  He and his family were victims of ‘Ondoy’.

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