*Apologies for cross posting
In behalf of the Filipino women, GABRIELA would like to express our gratitude to all our sisters, friends and comrades who continuously send their solidarity and support to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). The peopleâ€™s solidarity in these most trying times will help the Filipino people walk the path not only of survival and safety but of social justice.
Yesterday, GABRIELA received alarming reports of rape incidents in Tacloban City, Leyte, which is among the localities hardest hit by super-typhoon Yolanda (International name Haiyan) that ravaged the Philippines and left thousands of people dead and millions more displaced and devastated. The women were reported to have been raped in the aftermath of the typhoon as other survivors broke into their homes and forcibly took away their food.
The absence of government authorities, especially those coming from the national government for fast rescue, relief, rebuilding and order restoration efforts on the ground since the typhoon struck. Military and police forces are being deployed only to guard against possible â€œmob attacksâ€ driven by desperation for food and other immediate means to survive.
The destruction, hunger, misery and lack of immediate and appropriate government support to the people have pushed many to commit acts of desperation such as food ransacking, looting from the dead, and now rape. Gravely victimized by the typhoon due to an utter lack of necessary pre-disaster assistance from the government, the Filipino people are now rendered victims by the neglect and inaction of the Aquino government in mitigating the effects of the typhoon. Disaster situations heighten women and girlsâ€™ vulnerability to rape and sexual violence as desperation for survival push people to commit violence against what society deems the weakest, Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti taught us this lesson.
We are alarmed that utter government inaction and inefficiency in dealing with the crisis poses a dangerous backdrop to the eruption of more cases of rape and violence against women and children. We demand that the Aquino government organize and fast-track its efforts to bring assistance to the victims of typhoon Yolanda.
We urge our fellow Filipinos and friends abroad to continue our vigilance and press for the demand for immediate rescue and relief assistance to the victims of typhoon Yolanda. Please continue to support the victims by donating to people's organization that are working on the ground among the women and children, among the people.