A humanitarian rapid response and assessment team from PCI (Project Concern International) landed in the Philippines on Nov. 16. The group is comprised of experienced disaster relief experts who have significant ties to San Diego and the local Filipino community.
The emergency response team consists of PCI's Humanitarian Assistance Director Jim DiFrancesca, who hails from La Jolla and has worked to rebuild disaster-ravaged communities around the world. Chris Bessenecker, PCI's Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, is based in San Diego and has led relief and rebuilding efforts in Haiti and Indonesia. Dr. Maria Reyes, PCI's Director for California Programs, is a physician and development professional with strong ties to San Diego's Filipino community and relatives in the Philippines.
The team is identifying the hardest hit areas and assessing the short-term, medium-term and long-term needs of these areas. The group is working with partner organizations to fill the gaps in emergency response efforts currently underway. Along with this assessment, the PCI group will be providing immediate relief and response efforts when appropriate as well.
As of Nov. 18, there were officially 3,982 deaths from the storm and that number is expected to rise. The Philippines' disaster agency said more than 9 million people were affected in 44 provinces, 536 municipalities and 55 cities. Nearly 2 million were displaced, with about 400,000 of them finding shelter inside evacuation centers.
PCI has had a long history of providing humanitarian assistance to people affected by disasters and complex emergencies, most recently in Haiti after the 7.4 earthquake, and in Indonesia and India following the Asia Tsunami. PCI's humanitarian assistance efforts have focused on protection for vulnerable populations; water, sanitation and hygiene; health; shelter and housing; livelihoods; and education in emergencies. PCI emphasizes identifying the most vulnerable in remote, hard-to-reach areas.
To learn more about PCI's humanitarian assistance efforts in the Philippines or to arrange an interview, please contact Bonnie Maratea at 858-279-9690, ext. 326 or firstname.lastname@example.org.