Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya – Moved by a viral hashtag appealing to the nation not to forget Cagayan’s existence, a youth group here have used their skills in rescue operations and their social media prowess to appeal for help.
As Typhoon “Ulysses” exited, its accompanying heavy rains caused flooding of the low-lying areas in the Cagayan Valley region.
Residents of Isabela and Cagayan were shocked Friday when the vast plains of the region suddenly turned into a huge ocean after the Cagayan River swelled to a level never experienced since 1981.
The #CagayanAlsoExists distress call on social media was sounded while the nation’s attention was focused on rescue and relief work in Metro Manila and outlying areas directly hit by Ulysses.
A group of young rescue volunteers from Nueva Vizcaya immediately proceeded to Tuguegarao City when they heard of the distress call. By the time they reached there on Saturday morning, many rescue volunteers from other parts of the region have also arrived.
“There is overwhelming number of rescuers who came to Tuguegarao. The Office of the Civil Defense already announced they could no longer accommodate more volunteers coming in,” says Terrence Martin Guballa, a volunteer from Bayombong.
As of Sunday morning (November 15), volunteer rescuers were seen carrying relief goods aboard a small boat in Barangay Linao of Tuguegarao, which is still submerged in waist-level floods.
Since Friday evening, Kabataan of LA Towers, a group of young people in Barangay La Torre in this town, started to share their access to online money channels to raise funds to help thousands affected by the massive flooding.
Denise Maramba, Czarina Gorospe, Patricia Mae Pilotin, and Roger John Ocampo created a poster showing how their social media friends could send money the quickest possible way. They used bank transfer features of Land Bank, BDO, BPI, and the online smartphone app GCash.
“We plan to buy simple things that the affected people need to rebuild their lives after the floods subside,” the group said. They have sought the help of the provincial government of Nueva Vizcaya and other NGOs to bring the aid to Cagayan province.
The northern Cagayan province is often mistaken as Cagayan De Oro City in Mindanao.