Balsa Mindanao launches stress debriefing for Sendong survivors; calls for climate and economic justice

Jan. 16, 2012

Balsa Mindanao launches stress debriefing for Sendong survivors; calls for climate and economic justice

Balsa Mindanao, a coalition of the religious, nongovernment and civil society organizations begins psycho-social counseling, medical and relief operations to survivors of Typhoon Sendong on January 14 in the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro.

Some 150 volunteers including nuns, priests, social workers, psychiatrists, health professionals and workers, and students from Davao, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, Caraga and Socsksargends participated in the counseling and operations.

The psycho social sessions were divided into children and adults categories.  Children participated in group plays and drawings while adults joined in group discussions to unload their experiences and expectations.

Lawyer Beverly Musni, one of the Balsa Mindanao conveners, thanked the volunteers from all over Mindanao who lent their services and resources to help Sendong survivors.  “Our coming together is part of a bigger commitment to prevent more Sendongs by working for climate and economic justice,” she said.

The group’s statement said, “with the obvious breakdown of government systems for disaster prevention, mitigation and response, we rely on the people to empower themselves and raise their capacity to carry out grassroots community-based disaster management and responses.  We do this, as we also look at long-term strategies and solutions to environmental plunder and climate change and its impact to Mindanao.”

A citizen-led movement that responds to humanitarian crisis, movers of Balsa Mindanao met on January 13 in Cagayan de Oro and planned a commemorative activity on January 26 to mark the 40th day of the Sendong disaster that claimed the lives of 1,400 persons while 1,080 are still missing.

Among the convening organizations are the United Methodist Church Committee on Relief, Religious of the Virgin Mary-Mindanao Social Apostolate, United Church of Christ in the Philippines, Religious Good Shepherd-Women for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, Society of Divine Vocations, Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary, Sacred Heart Brothers, Charles Borromeo Sisters , Missionary Sisters of Mary, Missionaries of the Assumption, Promotion of Church People’s Response, Educators’ Forum for Development Mindanao, Holy Cross of Davao College, University of Mindanao-Social Work Department, Children’s Rehabilitation Center, Office of Vice Governor Norris Babiera of Misamis Oriental, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao, Panday Bulig, InPeace Mindanao, Gabriela, Bayan Muna, Kalumaran, Panalipdan Mindanao, Community Based Health Services Association, Philippine Veterinary Medical Association-Northern Mindanao Chapter and Humane Society International.

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