Fil-Ams push relief efforts for Philippine typhoon victims
It was the worst flooding in decades. In just half a day, Tropical Storm Ondoy dumped more than a month’s worth of rain in Metro Manila including the nearby areas of Marikina, Cainta, Pampanga and Bulacan. Entire villages were submerged, roads turned into rivers, and the devastation has overwhelmed a national government not used to dealing with disasters on such a massive scale.
Filipinos in the United States were shocked as well. It was unlike any calamity they have seen or experienced before. Business owner Rolly De Jesus is praying for the safety of his brother Alberto and his family from Cainta. He has been trying to phone Alberto, but could not. get through.
“Ang balita ko yung bahaydaw ng kapatid ko, yung buong lugar nila bubungan na lang ang nakikita. Ibig sabihin, wala na sila ron, Either lumikas na hopefully na walang namatay sa kanila, na rescue sila,” De Jesus said.
Rolly feels blessed to be living in Californi, and is helping not just his brother but other flood victims in their community.
“Ang nararamdaman ko ngayon yung ating binigay na biyaya dito sa America, ni hindi nila makamtan yun doon eh. Puro hirap ang inabot nila roon, kaya napakaswerte natin dito. Kaya kahit na alin ibibigay mo,” De Jesus said.
Other Fil-Am groups in the U.S. have started to offer help. Gawad Kalinga is seeking donations, while in Washington D.C., groups like Feed the Hungry and the Philippine-American Foundation for Charities have started raising funds.
Cargo company Forex is setting aside space in their containers to ship aid for the flood victims, and in New York, a moment of silence for the flood victims during a Fil-Am gathering.
The devastation in the homeland also cast a shadow on the successful screenings of Star Cinema’s new movie, “In My Life,” in California.
“Maski yung kasamahan namin dito, si direk Olive Lamasan, nadisgrasya yung bahay niya nalubog yung bahay niya. Si malou santos, yung producer mismo sa Star Cinema, yung bahay niya sa Marikina, lubog din, putik gamit nya lahat,” said “In My Life” star Vilma Santos, also the Governor of Batangas. “I am saddened, nakakalungkot talaga,”
Thousands of kababayans in evacuation centers are still in urgent need of food, water and medicine.