GATN in Disaster Relief Work

Disaster Relief and Management Program(DRMP) of Pangasinan YMCA

 The organization of the YMCA of Pangasinan was a result of program of the YMCA of the Philippines in 1926, to nationalize the YMCA movement which called for the initiation of more vigorous YMCA expansion work outside Manila, particularly over Luzon and cities of Visayas.

And rightly so because a few years after the first YMCA building was erected in Lingayen town, a big flood devastated the province and swept away the building and other valuable properties. And after the building was rebuilt, Japan invaded the Philippines a few years later and the Pangasinan YMCA building did not escape the shelling and bombing from both the invaders and the defenders of freedom. Then again in 1990, a killer earthquake literally reduced its building in Dagupan City into rubbles. This year’s rain in July and then again in August flooded and affected the shelters and livelihood of almost 500 hundred families in the city alone.

<The situation of Flood in Pangasinan>

SITUATION

Dagupan City where YMCA of Pangasinan is situated was hit by floods two times — in July and August. Other towns also affected are Calasaio, Mangaldan, Sta. Barbara and Binmaley. About 1,000 families and estimated 2,000 individuals were affected emotionally, physically and spiritually. Some families are still not able to go back home because of the continuing rain and if it is high tide, waters will again flow up to 1 foot high. They stayed in the evacuation center provided by the government.

 

RATIONALE

Service is part of YMCA’s objectives. This is a very rare opportunity for our members to render or extend our hands to all in need of our service. And as the needs arise we need to strive harder to give the right services needed by the people and to strengthen our capacity to reach out and create more space for the community, especially to the young people. We need to enliven their spirits and their morale as victims of calamities.

At the beginning this was made possible because of the increasing concerns of our members, especially our Board of Trustees and staff, and our local and international partners. The YMCA of Pangasinan strengthened its collaboration, as a member of the Federation of YMCAs in the Philippines, and also thru the Global Alternative Tourism Network (GATN), for immediate responses and actions towards disasters and natural calamities.

Thus, Disaster Relief and Management Program was activated and implemented as our quick response and continuing service to the affected lives. The DRMP include:

  • Relief Goods distribution
  • Health and Sanitation Program
  • Feeding Program
  • Stress debriefing /counseling
  • Referrals
  • Entrepreneurial Activities for their livelihood

                                                <Distribution of relief goods to affected people>                           <YMCA-Antipangol Community Learning Center
                                                                                                                                                           and Multi-Purpose Hall served as Evacuation Center>

CONCLUSION

If the Pangasinan YMCA continued to be one of the most active organizations in the province today, it is because its leaders and members have relentlessly worked hard for it since it was founded 92 years ago.

Pangasinan YMCA defied all the odds and, except perhaps during the war, it never slowed down in extending its services to those in need. It has become sturdier and stronger after surviving the test of time. It continues to renew its commitment to fulfill its enduring purpose of developing in an individual a well-balanced Christian life and Christian mission, as well as to promote unity among peoples of all faiths.

Thank you to the ceaseless stream of supporters, individuals and organizations for helping to overcome the flood, including the following:

YMCA of the Philippines, YMCA of Baguio, YMCA of Cagayan De Oro, YMCA of Manila, YMCA of Makati, YMCA of San Pablo, YMCA of Pangasinan Scholars, YMCA Members, Friends and Volunteers

And thank you to our friends and partners through the GATN program :

YMCA of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University students – their donations and gifts of love to our partner communities. The community centers which were built during their camp – the Community Learning Center and Multi-Purpose Hall – were all used as temporary shelters for the affected families.

And also the volunteers and interns form the YMCA of Saitama (Japan), YMCA of Taichung (Taiwan), YMCA of Anyang (Korea), Raonatti volunteers of Korea YMCA.

<Staffs, Volunteers and Interns from Taichung YMCA packing relief goods >

For now, YMCA of Pangasinan may only be providing temporary dwellings for transients through its hostel facilities. There are still many things to be done for all those affected by the typhoon, all of which needed a lot of funding. With the collective efforts of our generous Y`ers and partners, Pangasinan YMCA will overcome all adversities – as it has done for decades now.

Good Action Towards Natural Calamities – our immediate response.

– JUANITO C. BACANI, JR, General Secretary of Pangasinan YMCA

 

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