Dubai: Images of grief and stories of survival in typhoon-torn Philippines have touched the hearts of many Dubai residents, sparking them to start relief campaigns.
Super typhoon Haiyan wiped out communities in the island provinces of central Philippines on Friday. More than 10,000 are feared dead and hundreds of thousands rendered homeless.
Roldan Vergara of courier company LBC told Gulf News many residents have started getting empty boxes for relief goods from their office. LBC is sending the boxes — which may contain up to 50kg of goods — for free to the Philippine Red Cross. The company has been doing this since 2009 and has since shipped more than 2,000 relief boxes to the Philippines from generous UAE residents.
Maricel Valeza, an executive from a big hotel group in Dubai, has resumed her colleague-driven ‘Kabayan Aid Campaign’. The campaign previously collected relief goods such as new clothes, linen, towels, and canned goods for the victims of typhoon Ketsana in 2009 and the massive flooding caused by incessant monsoon rains in 2012.
Valeza said their campaign has created a ripple effect in her network as some of her friends and former colleagues from other hotels — irrespective of their nationality — have started their own campaigns as well.
“The message is anyone can do it. They just have to start,” Valeza told Gulf News. “It’s not enough to talk about it. We have to do something, that’s what matters most.”
Roy Silvano, community relations director of Sangguniang Masang Pilipino International Inc, a non-government organisation of Filipino ex-police officers and professionals in the UAE, said about 200 of their officers and affiliates will take charge of the distribution of relief goods coming from the efforts of the Filipino community in Dubai and the northern emirates.