Could not authenticate you.followers
While many Filipinos living in Los Angeles are natives of cities outside the areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan, there are a number of families in the city that are still trying to determine the status of their loved ones — five days after the disaster.
According to the Philippine consulate general in Los Angeles, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has reported 1,798 dead, 2,582 injured and 82 missing. Almost 1.4 million families — about 7 million individuals — have been impacted.
With more than 120,000 Filipinos living in Los Angeles (2010 U.S. Census), the local effects have been widespread, which is why several organizations, such as the Rotary Club of Historic Filipinotown, are doing all they can to aid relief efforts.
“There is a very huge response, and we’re very pleased on the reaction that we have been getting from [various] organizations,” said Ben Aranda, who is coordinating the relief efforts for the Rotary club.
He said the Filipino-American Services Group Inc. and the Search to Involve Philippine Americans have also been coordinating efforts locally, accepting donated food, clothing, towels, blankets, shoes and more to be shipped out to the Philippines. Aranda said the Rotary has also been in close contact with the Rotary Club of Cebu West.
“There are a lot of organizations in Manilla that are mobilizing the different organizations in provinces closest to the affected areas,” he added.
Aranda said the Filipinotown Rotary had created a partnership with a religious organization, Assumption Sisters, prior to the typhoon. The ongoing project involved the Rotary sending boxes of goods to the organization to benefit relief efforts when typhoons hit.
“Basically, we are hoping they have already received it in a timely manner,” Aranda said.
He said the Rotary sought to be proactive instead of reactive, as the Philippines is “easily” subjected to 20 or more typhoons per year.
“Unfortunately, this particular [typhoon] was taken for granted,” Aranda said. “Filipinos probably didn’t think it was going to be as bad and were not expecting 195-miles-per hour wind.”
While goods and items are needed, the Rotary is focused on sending monetary donations, he said.
“That, if anything else, is what’s going to get there the fastest,” Aranda said, adding that donations have been trickling in locally, but he expects a “huge” response to follow. Unfortunately, sending the goods takes some time. “At least it will be there for the aftermath of the typhoon.”
He said he has relatives close to the affected area, and so far, his family members are doing OK considering the devastation. Aranda said they have food and water, but no power.
“Luckily, they were not hit as bad,” he said. “Fortunately, they stayed in a shelter, so they were protected, but obviously their home was damaged.”
Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, 13th District, represents Historic Filipinotown, and his office is also helping coordinate relief efforts. He said the council will host the consul general, Maria Hellen M. Barber-de La Vega, at city hall next week to raise awareness.
“I just want to make sure we do everything we can,” O’Farrell said, adding that families will need help relocating in the coming months. “That’s when people are really going to need the long-term assistance.”
He agreed that the best thing Angelenos can do is send cash to the organizations coordinating the relief efforts.
“The Red Cross is sending shiploads of things over for people to have clothing and all they need to stay warm,” O’Farrell added.
He said the office hopes to support disaster victims immediately, which will allow them an opportunity to take a step back and figure out to how rebuild their lives. O’Farrell said the typhoon has certainly impacted residents in his district.
“There are untold number of people who I know who are directly or indirectly affected by this. …It definitely has had an impact,” he added.
O’Farrell said he understands how it feels to be affected by a disaster. He referenced a tornado that hit his native Oklahoma shortly before he was elected to office.
“I know what it’s like to be affected by a disaster, and people are going to need longterm help, not just in the immediate,” O’Farrell said. “I just hope people can stay engaged until the towns get rebuilt and we get the disaster area stabilized. …We’re committed longterm to see this through.”
To contact the Rotary, call (818)230-2679 or visit www.filipinotownrotary.org. To contact the council office, visit www.cd13.com. Additionally, the consul general will hold a community meeting regarding the relief efforts at 6:30 p.m. today at her office, 3600 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 500.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Leave a Reply