Canada is sending it’s Disaster Assistance Relief Team to the Philippines where as many as 10,000 people are presumed dead following Friday’s massive typhoon. The rapid-response team, known as “DART”, comprises 200 Canadian Forces personnel and was last deployed after the devastating earthquake in Haiti more than three years ago. The federal government has already promised up to $5-million in relief aid and has pledged to match donations from Canadians to relief organizations. Filipino communities around the world are also coming together to help their devastated homeland. Kelda Yuen spoke with some of them.
“It’s our country, it’s our people. It breaks my heart to see all the suffering.”
Three days after typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, people are still searching for loved ones, while others struggle to survive.
Rachel Logel-Carmichael is with Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs for World Vision: “It’s just devastating, there’s trees on the road. There are solid buildings that have just wipes to the ground. The airports have been damaged.”
In Oakville, some members of the Filipino Social Club gathered for a meeting Monday to discuss what they can do to help.
“One of our Filipino Social Club Oakville members, Naomi, couldn’t locate her nephew.”
Divina Batara is the President of the Filipino Club of Oakville. Her brother is a missionary in the Philippines: “Their two churches were wiped out and there is no communication. “There are some members of his church, they are missing. He can’t locate them. Now, is the time to come together. And that’s what Filipinos everywhere have done.”
Divina’s Brother-in-law is a pastor at Christ for Life Ministries in Mississauga. His ministry has been reaching out to the community for help.
Here at Christ for Life Ministries, they’ve been collecting imperishable foods as well as money to send to the Philippines. They’ve already sent $1000 to help with relief in the Philippines. They started collecting food yesterday. This is what they’ve collected so far. They are hoping to collect two full boxes of food to send to the Philippines in two weeks.”
The money and food will be sent to Divina’s brother in Manila, and then brought to those in need Virginia Mateo is the Pastor for Christ for Life Ministries: “He’ll be sending a person personally to bring the funds, and the dry goods can go after because, since there is no communication, it is very hard.”
Meanwhile, numerous aid organizations are also delivering relief to the Philippines, despite communication being difficult: “Our staff have gone out to the areas and are using radios if they are unable to use mobile phones.”
Despite the chaos and desperation they see in their country right now, the Flipinos I spoke with are quick to point out, they are resilient. “”We can build again from the ground up. From ashes into beauty.”
You can drop off donations to Christ for Life Ministries in person at 3607 Wolfedale Rd. in Mississauga. Or call Divina Batara at 905-257-3628. To donate to World Vision online, go to www.worldvision.ca.