by Carlo Lorenzo J. Datu
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, October 19 (PIA) -- Approximately 10,000 households in the town of San Simon in Pampanga affected by severe flooding brought by typhoon Falcon last June, are benefiting from the Food-for-Work project of the European Union (EU).
EU delegation to the Philippines Public Affairs officer Thelma Gecolea said the “€ 200,000 (P12 million) worth of assistance, dubbed the Central Luzon Emergency Response (CLER) project, covers six barangays namely San Isidro, San Pablo Propio, Dela Paz, San Agustin, Sto. Niño and Sta. Monica. These barangays are situated along the Pampanga river basin and have creeks that are clogged with water hyacinths.”
Gecolea explained that “an uncontrolled overgrowth of water hyacinths forming dense mats on the surfaces of the waterways obstructs the flow of water. These invasive weeds slow down the recession of flood.”
Apart from being an impediment to water flow, hyacinths also degrade water quality and reduce biodiversity as the sunlight is blocked causing underwater plant and animal species to be displaced or eliminated.
Gecolea said, “EU’s CLER demonstrates the combination of meeting the immediate food needs of affected households with mobilizing them to address the longer-term issues of ecosystem degradation and worsening disasters.”
Under the project, family representatives of the mentioned villages physically remove the water hyacinths using hand tools provided to them.
Harvested water hyacinths are placed inside sacks and are brought to the town of Mabalacat for use as inputs to handicraft industries.
Food relief packs, amounting to P600 each, are then given to the family representatives who participated in the clean-up drive as a compensation for a day of work.
Each pack contains 8 kilos of rice, ½ kilo of dried fish (tuyo), ½ kilo of munggo, ½ kilo of sugar, and 200 ml of cooking oil.
The CLER project, which started last July 15 and will end on December 31 this year, is being implemented in partnership with CARE Nederland, ACCORD Inc., and Alay Bayan-Luson Inc.
Gecolea disclosed that the EU is set to provide soon assistance to communities battered by typhoons Pedring and Quiel in Central Luzon.
The aid shall focus on the establishment of mobile clinics, waste management, hygiene promotion, and emergency livelihood. (WLB/CLJD-PIA 3)