‘Maring’ victims in Calamba get hygiene kits from aid group

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Americares staff orient flashflood victims on the significance of personal hygiene during the distribution of hygiene kits in Barangay II, Calamba, Laguna. (photo by Lottie Salarda, InterAksyon)

CALAMBA CITY, Laguna — Women and children from two villages in Calamba, Laguna struck by flashfloods during tropical depression Maring last week received hygiene promotion kits, water purifiers and water jugs from aid group Americares.

Hygiene kits are essentially emergency packs containing toiletries and other items for keeping clean that are distributed as part of relief to displaced persons, particularly survivors of calamities.

Jonalyn Balaston, a 22-year old mother of three from Barangay II, whose family lost everything when their small house was swamped by floodwaters.

Wala po kaming nasalbang gamitmga anak ko lang. Mabilis pong tumaas ang tubig kaya nagulat kami. Umabot po ito sa bubungan namin (We saved nothing … but my children. The waters rose swiftly catching us unaware. It reached our roof),” she said.

Balaston admitted this was her first time to receive a hygiene kit, noting that the aid distributed by the local social services office did not include one.

Sobrang masaya po ako kasi hindi na magkakasakit ang mga anak ko dahil sa maruming tubig, may sabon, toothpaste, (sanitary) napkin, panty at iba (I am very happy because my children will no longer get sick from dirty water, there is soap, toothpaste, sanitary napkins, panties and others),” she said. “Mahalaga po ito sa akin dahil makakatulong po talaga ito sa paglilinis ng aming katawan. Katumbas po nito ang halaga ng pagkain at iba pang kailangan namin. Gumaan po ang loob ko ngayon, hindi na ako masyadong mag-aalala (This is important because it will really help us keep clean. This is just as important as food and other needs. A weight has been lifted from me, I don’t have to worry too much now).”

Kakaiba itong assistance ng Americares kasi mapapanatili nito ang pagpapahalaga sa sarili sa kabila ng trahedyang nangyari sa amin (This aid from Americares is different because it helps preserve self-respect despite the tragedy that visited us),” Jeralline Candolita, 39, a Quick Response Team member in another stricken village, Barangay Parian, said.

Maring’s floods left seven dead in Parian — one other remains missing — and affected 178 families living beside the San Cristobal River.

On Wednesday, Americares, led by country director Paul Gwyn Pagaran, distributed 150 hygiene kits to the flashflood victims of Parian and Barangay II.