In February 2012 BALSA Mindanao (Bulig alang sa Mindanao/Help for Mindanao), “a broad Mindanao-wide network of church and church-based organizations … a citizen-led response to the immense humanitarian crisis brought about by Typhoon Sendong”, issued a report titled This can happen again! The authors have based their conclusions and recommendations on the research and data gathered in the course of BALSA’s work in Bukidnon, Cagayan and Iligan.
They want answers to the obvious questions: Why this? Why so many deaths? Why such a devastation? Could we have mitigated or even prevented such a disaster? Who is accountable and why? What must we do so we can be more prepared when tragedies like this happen?
The survivors’ demands are clear. Families who have been directly hit by the storm should receive compensation for the loss of their loved ones, the destruction of their homes and crops. They want the loggers, the miners and the agribusiness companies who are responsible for the environmental destruction to indemnify their loss. They need rehabilitation and reconstruction aid in a safe area accessible to their means of livelihood with priority for the survivors presently housed in evacuation centers. There must be a clear accounting of how relief assistance has been implemented and any opportunism or corruption exposed and punished.
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