A peace group based in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao has donated thousands of face masks to people affected by the eruption of a volcano north of the country.
The face masks were donated by a foreign humanitarian organization last year to the non-government group Balay Mindanao following a series of typhoons and earthquakes in the region.
“We could not help but feel helpless in responding,” said Charlito Manlupig, chairman of Balay Mindanaw Foundation Inc.
“Hopefully, this modest contribution can somehow help ease the difficulties of those affected by the Taal Volcano disaster,” he said.
Manlupig’s organization has been at the forefront in providing disaster relief assistance in Mindanao since 2012.
“When some members of Balay Mindanaw became victims themselves, that’s when we coined our disaster response mantra: ‘We refuse to be victims, we choose to be resources’,” he said.
In 2019, the organization committed its teams in earthquake disaster relief responses for the region.
Demand for N95 protective masks has surged and supply has ran out in the provinces of Batangas, Cavite, and even in Manila, as Taal Volcano continues to spew ash and mud into the air.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website noted that the N95 face mask is “the most common of the seven types of particulate filtering face-piece respirators.”
Health authorities recommended the mask as respiratory protection against smoke and ash emitted by the erupting volcano.
Meanwhile, the Social Action Center of the Lipas Archdiocese has called for volunteers to assist in the repacking of goods for families affected by the disaster.
The church group announced that it also needs volunteers to join a crash course on psychological first-aid to help debrief “our stressed brethren who were affected by the eruption.”
In the province of Batangas, more than 35,000 people have fled their homes since the eruption.
That figure is expected to rise as more residents within the 14-kilometer danger zone continue to be evacuated. An estimated 450,000 people are residing within the danger zone of the volcano.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said there are no reported casualties from the eruption.