There are many Filipinos that live and work in San Diego county. Many of them have relatives back home in the Philippines that have been affected by the tragic typhoon Haiyun that hit last week. One of these is Rex Mortensen, a recruiter with American Solar Direct. Rex has told me he has “several dozen family members in Tacloban City where I was born and raised until 8 yrs of age. All but one of my family members have been found and with the conditions there currently, odds are not good. All of their homes destroyed and belongings gone. They are hungry, thirsty, severely injured and with only the clothes on their backs, are trekking up to Manila to relocate and live permanently with our aid (financially). A survival story of one of my cousins….When the typhoon was at its peak and flooded their village literally neck deep. My cousin was able to find a Styrofoam debris floating on the water as it rushed by and put his 5 yr old son on there to keep both of them from drowning. He said if it wasn’t for that, they both would not have survived because the water was rising quickly. What I am hearing from them is very similar to the Haiti earthquake crisis with government corruption, not moving fast enough with aid and the aid centers that are set up, are pilfering from the survivors by charging for food, water, etc. The impact is devastating emotionally and financially for us here in the US. Not knowing where everyone was, the questions as to why help is not getting to them and needing to relocate so many of our family members out of the disaster that once was called home.
What can be done? To be honest with you I don’t know. If we send aid essentials, it seems to not get to the survivors willingly in some regions. If we send money, to who can we trust? There have been millions sent already with what results. What I would like to see is the government taking responsibility and doing what’s right for that region. It seems like more help is coming from foreign volunteers.”
Though Rex says he is very skeptical about aid helping the people in his country, he did point me to one local organization in Poway that anticipated this typhoon before it even hit. The name of the organization is Gawad Kalinga Relief Operations for Typhoon Victims. They are bringing food, water and medicine to the victims in the Philippines.
SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A Poway-based Filipino relief organization geared up Friday to help victims of a typhoon that unleashed 200-plus-mile-an-hour winds and wrought havoc in the central Philippines.
Gawad Kalinga USA said it’s accepting donations to pay for 200,000 food packs that its affiliate in the Philippines intends to distribute in hard-hit areas. The packs — which include rice, bottled water and canned goods — can feed families for three or four days, according to the group.
Super Typhoon Haiyan tore across the island of Samar yesterday, killing at least three people. The toll was expected climb as search efforts intensify.
Haiyan reportedly generated sustained winds of 195 mph, and gusts of up to 235 mph.
‘`If you can imagine what happened with Katrina — at about 125 to 140 miles an hour — these winds were surpassing 200 miles an hour, so you can see the devastation that’s going to happen,” Tony Olaes of Gawad Kalinga USA told 10News. “We don’t know how bad it is at this point.”
Olaes said that the power is out in many areas, but he’s seen reports from people on Facebook of water 16 feet deep in some areas and winds that sounded like freight trains.
Resfina Macoy Torrevillas told NBC7/39 that she has been unable to reach her mother and sister in the central Philippines.
She said part of the region affected by the typhoon was struck by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake three weeks ago that killed 222 people.
“We have people living (in) tents because they lost their homes from the earthquake and the churches have been in ruins, too,” she said. “So, now, I think what we can do is pray for them, for their safety.”
Authorities said Haiyan might be the strongest ever tropical cyclone to make landfall.
Maybe it’s best to give to a local foreign charity like Gawad Kalinga Relief Operations for Typhoon Victims and the Red Cross that way you know your donations will have been given to a reputable organization one way or the other for a positive impact, reaching the people who deserve it most. Gawad Kalinga Relief Operations for Typhoon Victims is not tax deductible.