World Vision expands Typhoon Ketsana response across three countries

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Sept. 30 /CNW/ - World Vision is helping children and families affected by Typhoon Ketsana as the deadly storm leaves a trail of destruction across the Philippines, Vietnam and potentially Laos. Humanitarian staff have been dispatched to remote villages in Laos and rural areas of Vietnam to determine how much assistance people need. In the Philippines, staff are working around the clock to meet the needs of 20,000 families.

In the Philippines, staff are distributing hundreds of aid packs at an evacuation centre in Manila and launching child-friendly spaces for hundreds of children to play, to help them escape the distress of the last few days. "The scale of the devastation is stretching all of us. The important thing is to show people that they are not forgotten by getting even small amounts of aid out. It is also critical that we care for children whose lives have been turned upside down by this catastrophe. We are doing that with our child-friendly spaces," said Minnie Portales, World Vision Philippine's Advocacy Director.

"Some areas remain inaccessible due to fallen trees and power lines, landslides and flooding. In some places the flood waters are two meters high," said Le Van Duong, World Vision Vietnam's Relief and Disaster Mitigation Coordinator. In Laos, Khammouane province has been hit by heavy rains. Staff are still waiting to hear what the impact has been on four outlying project areas and will be conducting assessments soon with provincial officials, depending on accessibility, to determine the needs of villagers. "We have the capability to urgently prepare 500 aid packs if our assessment teams find these are needed. Included in them will be blankets, medicines and plastic sheeting," said Vatthanathavone Inthirath, a humanitarian worker with World Vision Laos. In Vietnam, recovery operations have started after the worst of the storm hit on Tuesday. The government was sending helicopters to rescue people from remote regions. More than 5,800 houses were reported collapsed with some 163,000 houses having lost their roofs. World Vision workers are planning to distribute 1,000 family food aid packs to some 5,000 people in several project areas, including to Quang Tri, one of the worst impacted areas, which is still cut off from the outside world.

World Vision is accepting donations to assist those affected by the crisis. Those wishing to help can visit WorldVision.ca or call 1-800-268-5528.

-   World Vision donors support more than 106,500 children in the
        Philippines, including 21,750 children sponsored by Canadians. The
        organization has been working in the Philippines for more than 50
        years.
    -   World Vision donors support around 60,600 children in Vietnam.
        Canadians do not sponsor children in Vietnam with World Vision. The
        organization has been working in Vietnam since 1960.
    -   World Vision donors support around 35,470 children in Laos. Canadians
        do not sponsor children in Laos with World Vision. The organization
        has been working in Laos since 1968.
    -   World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy
        organization dedicated to working with children, families and
        communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves
        all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.

For further information: To interview World Vision staff, please contact: Yoko Kobayashi, (905) 565-6200 ext. 2151, (416) 671-0086 (cell), yoko_kobayashi@WorldVision.ca; Alex Sancton, (905) 565-6200 ext. 3979, (416) 419-1321 (cell), alex_sancton@WorldVision.ca