World Vision helps families hit by Typhoon Ketsana in the Philippines

    -  Manila's "worst disaster in decades" affected more than 450,000
    -  World Vision relief teams to help close to 100,000 disaster-
       affected people

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Sept. 28 /CNW/ - World Vision is responding with family relief packs to help the thousands of people affected by Typhoon Ketsana in the Philippines. The storm, which packed maximum wind speeds of nearly 110 km/h, brought one month's rain to the capital city of Manila and neighboring provinces in less than seven hours and killed at least 140 people. It is the worst disaster to hit the city in decades.

"The impact of this typhoon on Manila has been shocking. Many have lost everything, including bedding, food, education materials and clothing," said World Vision's national director in the Philippines, Elnora Avarientos. "The poorest (people) living in slums and settlements are especially badly hit."

World Vision is working with the Philippine Coast Guard to distribute aid as quickly as possible, dispatching relief by helicopter to some of the hard-to-reach areas. The organization's emergency response teams hope to reach nearly 100,000 people with food and other relief items in some of the hardest-hit areas of Manila, including Marikina, Cainta, Rizal, and Pasig. Thousands of homes in these areas are damaged or destroyed, and many families lost everything when the flood waters swept through their houses. In addition, the relief, development and advocacy organization is organizing food- and cash-for-work programs to help communities recover and clean up their streets, community buildings and schools. World Vision will also set up child-friendly spaces for the children in targeted relief areas in Manila, where they can study or play to resume a certain normalcy in their lives and address their psychosocial needs.

"Houses were flooded in just a few minutes, so people were not able to bring their belongings or food into evacuation centers," said World Vision's emergency affairs director, Boy Bersales. "Others waited on their rooftops to be rescued."

Much of the city is covered in mud. Those who managed to flee on foot were left grappling with surging water, floating debris and water up to their necks. A number of dead bodies, most of which were children and elderly people, were seen floating in the water in areas still flooded, while some bodies were found along the streets in areas where water has subsided.

While Manila is the worst-hit area, three of the community development programs that World Vision operates in rural areas have been affected. The organization is also responding here.

World Vision is working closely with other international organizations, the National Disaster Coordinating Council and rescue teams and local companies who are providing food for distribution.

World Vision is accepting donations to assist those affected by the crisis. Those wishing to help can visit 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

    -  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.

SOURCE World Vision Canada

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

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