Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fear, demise and cry for help- the current situation in Philippines. September 26, 2011 was yet another normal day, when the deadly typhoon hit the country and flushed away hundreds of lives. Similar hardships were bestowed upon the citizens when a twin typhoon in the early October affected millions of people in various villages and towns.

Local officials prepare boats to evacuate residents amid rising flood waters in San Mateo, Rizal, east of Manila September 27, 2011. Photo Courtesy: REUTERS / Cheryl Ravelo. Click here for more pictures.

People are left homeless and forced to reside on streets. Strong winds and heavy downpour have had residents waiting for help on their rooftops. According to Gulf News, the death toll in Philippines has reached 108, while 26 are still missing. Infrastructure along with agriculture has also been damaged in this disaster.

UAE has a large overseas Filipino population, The National newspaper discloses that nearly 600,000 Filipinos live and work in the Emirates, accounting for 12 per cent of the country's population, according to the 2008 estimate of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas in Manila. After Indians, Filipinos’ population is in a majority here.

With their everyday job issues, these expatriates now have their families in their minds that are back home. Worry revolves around them all day as they plead for their loved ones to be safe. When asked about the deadly disaster, Filipinos' put on a pensive face and their voice gets shaky. A feeling of revulsion arouses in them and prayers appear on their lips.

Bobby D’souza, who works in the business sector in Dubai has just returned from Philippines, with the disaster fresh in his mind he helped describe the situation there.

“The situation there is harsh; people are helpless and are in desperate need of aid. I am very thankful to God that my family is safe as they live in an area that is not affected by the typhoon, but I do have some friends who have seen their houses being washed away,” said D’souza.

“Since I have just arrived from my country, I did donate goods there. I’ll be donating from UAE as well through some organization that helps sending relief to Philippines,” he added.

Today, we have with us people who are hopeful of their family’s safety. One of them is Dan Hernandez, a 24 year old ambitious individual, who said, “Thankfully my family is safe but the situation there still leaves me in tremor.”

On asking about the fund reliefs he replied, “With or without typhoon, we still send relief back home to our families.”

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi is not lacking behind in helping Philippines. It has been reported that the newly-elected officers and members of the governing council of the Filipino Community in Dubai and the Northern Emirates (Filcom Dubai-NE) plan to organize a fundraising campaign in Dubai. UAE Red Crescent Authority is also involved in the fund-raising event.

Filipinos who wish to donate cash on their own may send directly to the Philippine Red Cross or to Philippine TV stations such as GMA-7 and ABS-CBN, said Matilyn Bagunu, the governing council’s vice president and the head of the St Mary’s Filipino Community Choir. 

You can always save a life by donating goods to Philippines. If you want to donate to the appeal in the UAE please call 800 227 226 for more information.

Report by Maria Hussain