By Julie Catangay and Adelina Wansi
At 6am on 12 January 2013, more than 1,000 older people will lead a march in Manila to demand more support for older people affected by Typhoon Bopha.
The older people − members of the Confederation of Older Persons' Associations of the Philippines (COPAP) – will hold an ecumenical service and a press conference at the People's Hall at Quexon City Memorial Circle.
(c) Peter Caton/HelpAge International.
The march will link older people in organised communities with older people suffering the after-effects of disasters, especially in Mindanao.
"This is to show our support for the victims of the calamity, especially the older people who greatly need help," said Dioscoro Benalla, president of COPAP.
Older people often ignored in disasters
In times of disaster the needs of older people are often ignored. When relief items are available, distributions can be too chaotic for the older people to withstand, leaving their needs unattended.
Julie Catangay, officer of COPAP added, "Most of the time when older people are given any help, they give it first to their families." These factors mean that older people are particularly vulnerable during disasters.
Preparing for future disasters
The Coalition of Services of the Elderly (COSE) and partner organisation COPAP learned a hard lesson after Typhoon Ondoy, and began working on community-based Disaster Risk Reduction Management.
Older people proved themselves up to the task. They shared their knowledge of disaster risk reduction and coping mechanisms. They have not only provided basic necessities but also addressed psychological needs.
Older people also stressed the importance of building their capacity to reduce vulnerability and increase their ability to withstand future disasters.
Donations for the victims of Typhoon Bopha
HelpAge is working with COSE and COPAP to support older people affected by the Typhoon which hit the Philippines at the beginning of December, affecting over 5.5 million people and killing more than 900.
Older people at the rally will be collecting donations from those attending, to go towards a fund for the victims of Typhoon Bohpa.
How you can help
Please make a donation now to support our work with older people affected by Typhoon Bopha. Thank you!