'How could I do something here to help?'

Brooklyn Currents | 11/10/2013 | 0 comments


Brooklyn Currents Editor

Typhoon Haiyon, which made Hurricane Sandy look like an ocean breeze, devastated much of the Philippines on Friday, Nov. 7, flattening entire towns and villages and leaving bodies strewn on the streets and dangling from trees. Early estimates were that at least 10,000 people had been killed, with the toll expected to rise sharply.

"I was really shocked by the massive destruction," Romy Dorotan, owner-chef of the Filipino restaurant Purple Yam at 1314 Cortelyou Road, told Brooklyn Currents. "My first reaction was, How could I do something here to help?"

He decided to organize a fundraiser for next Sunday, Nov. 17 and the following Sunday, Nov. 24 at the restaurant. He's still working on the details – anyone interested in coming to the event or participating in the effort can call him at 718-940-8188.

Asked why he's waiting until next Sunday to do a fundraiser, Dorotan said, "It's better to organize it well, to get more money then rather than get trickles if we tried something right away. This [the effect of Haiyon] is going to be felt for months and months."

Dorotan emigrated to the U.S. from the western Pacific Ocean archipelago  in 1975; he opened his restaurant four years ago. He's been able to be in touch with friends and relatives in his home country. "Luckily, they haven't been affected," he said.

Other Filipinos weren't as fortunate.

"I am really worried about my aunt and my relatives," a customer at a Queens Filipino restaurant told NY 1. "I just trust in the Lord, in his divine mercy."

"I have no contact anymore since three days already, and I've tried to call them this [Sunday] morning," an employee at the restaurant said. "Just an hour later, and I was calling them, nothing."

Here are some organizations accepting donations to aid the survivors of Typhoon Haiyon:
 American Jewish Joint Distribution Committe
ChildFund International
Convoy of Hope
Direct Relief
Habitat for Humanity
International Medical Corps
Philippine Red Cross
Samaritan's Purse
 Save The Children
 ShelterBox |
Stop Hunger Now
World Food Programme | World Vision


Survivors desperate for aid in typhoon-ravaged Philippines

By Jason Gutierrez 

Residents scramble for looted goods in Tacloban City, central Philippines on November 10, 2013, three days after devastating Typhoon Haiyan hit the city

Survivors of a super typhoon that may have killed more than 10,000 people in the Philippines were growing increasingly desperate for aid Monday, as authorities struggled to cope with potentially the country's worst recorded natural disaster.
As the sheer scale of the devastation slowly became clear, rescue workers appeared overwhelmed in their efforts to help countless survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan, which sent tsunami-like waves and merciless winds rampaging across a huge chunk of the archipelago on Friday.

Hundreds of police and soldiers were deployed to contain looters in Tacloban, the devastated provincial capital of Leyte, while the United States announced it had responded to a Philippine government appeal and was sending military help.

"Tacloban is totally destroyed. Some people are losing their minds from hunger or from losing their families," high school teacher Andrew Pomeda, 36, told AFP on Sunday, warning of the increasing desperation of survivors.

"People are becoming violent. They are looting business establishments, the malls, just to find food, rice and milk.... I am afraid that in one week, people will be killing from hunger."

President Benigno Aquino said while visiting Tacloban on Sunday that looting had become a major concern, after only 20 officers out of the city's 390-strong police force turned up for work.

Tacloban queue
Residentsline up for relief foods next to a fallen power line in Tacloban City 

"So we will send about 300 police and soldiers to take their place and bring back peace and order," he said.

Haiyan, which moved out of the Philippines and into the South China Sea on Saturday, made landfall in Vietnam early Monday, US meteorologists said.

The US Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) said in an update at 2100 GMT the storm "is currently making landfall" approximately 97 miles (156 kilometres) east south-east of the capital Hanoi, with sustained winds of 75 miles (120 kilometres) per hour.

The typhoon had weakened at sea, striking Vietnam as the equivalent of a category-one hurricane -- the weakest on the one-to-five Saffir-Simpson wind-speed scale.

Even so, more than 600,000 people were evacuated, with flooding and heavy rain expected.

The Vietnamese government website said Sunday that five people had died while preparing for the storm.

Farther north, six members of a cargo boat were also missing off the Chinese province of Hainan, state media in China reported.

'Reaching them is difficult'

Up to four million children could be affected by the disaster, the United Nations Children's Fund warned Sunday.
"We are rushing to get critical supplies to children who are bearing the brunt of this crisis," said UNICEF Philippines representative Tomoo Hozumi.

A young resident sits on top of a display booth loaded …
A young resident sits on top of a display booth loaded with looted goods in Tacloban City

"Reaching the worst-affected areas is very difficult," he said. "But we are working around the clock."

Authorities were struggling to understand the sheer magnitude of the disaster, let alone react to it, with the regional police chief for Leyte saying initial government estimates showed 10,000 people were believed to have died in that province alone.

Chief Superintendent Elmer Soria told reporters in Tacloban that the typhoon destroyed up to 80 percent of the structures in its path.

On the neighbouring island of Samar, a local disaster chief said 300 people were killed in the small town of Basey.

He added another 2,000 were missing there and elsewhere on Samar, which was one of the first areas hit when Haiyan swept in from the Pacific Ocean as a category-five storm with maximum sustained winds of 315 kilometres (195 miles) an hour.

Residents walk past debris and an overturned jeepney …
Residents walk past debris and an overturned jeepney littered along a road in Tacloban City
Dozens more people were confirmed killed in other flattened towns and cities across a 600-kilometre stretch of islands through the central Philippines. 
As the scale of the disaster began to emerge, an international aid effort ratcheted up.
In Washington, the Pentagon announced that US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel had responded to a request from the Philippines for military aid and directed the US Pacific Command to deploy resources.
President Barack Obama said he was "deeply saddened" and added that Washington was "ready to further assist the government's relief and recovery efforts."
UN leader Ban Ki-moon also promised that humanitarian agencies would "respond rapidly to help people in need", while the European Commission said it would give three million euros ($4 million) to help relief efforts.

A girl peeks out from a makeshift shelter in Tacloban, …
A girl peeks out from a makeshift shelter in Tacloban, on the eastern island of Leyte

British Prime Minister David Cameron called Aquino to extend his sympathy, and offered an emergency support package worth six million pounds ($9.6 million).

Deadliest natural disaster

The Philippines endures a seemingly never-ending pattern of deadly typhoons, earthquakes, volcano eruptions and other natural disasters.

It is located along a typhoon belt and the so-called Ring of Fire, a vast Pacific region where many of Earth's earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

But if the death toll of more than 10,000 is correct, Haiyan would be the deadliest natural disaster ever recorded in the country, worse than the 1976 Moro Gulf tsunami that killed between 5,000 and 8,000 people.

Haiyan's maximum sustained wind speeds made it the strongest typhoon in the world this year, and one of the most powerful ever recorded.

Witnesses in Tacloban recalled waves up to five metres (16 feet) high surging inland. Aerial photos showed entire neighbourhoods destroyed, with trees and buildings flattened by storm surge.

The Philippines country director of the World Food Programme, Praveen Agrawal, who visited Tacloban, said the devastation resembled that of a tsunami.

"All the trees are bent over, the bark has been stripped off, the houses have been damaged. In many cases they have collapsed," he told AFP.

"The huge waves came again and again, flushing us out on the street and washing away our homes," Mirasol Saoyi, 27, told AFP near Tacloban's seaside sports stadium, where thousands of people gathered.

"My husband tied us together, but still we got separated among the debris. I saw many people drowning, screaming and going under.... I haven't found my husband."


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