Residents living near the slopes of Mayon volcano are evacuated to public schools by police in anticipation of the powerful typhoon Haiyan that threatened Albay province and several provinces in central Philippines Thursday afternoon Nov.7, 2013. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Various organisations in the UAE are mobilising aid and relief operations to help typhoon-stricken Philippines.

Where and how to help:

  • Dubai: Lunch for a cause on November 22 from 11am at Wonderland Theme & Water Park for Dh50. Proceeds to be donated to GMA Kapuso foundation. Donations in kind also welcome. Call 0506503765
  • Dubai: Philippine Consulate-General in Al Ghusais is accepting donations in kind. Volunteers also welcome to help in repacking relief goods
  • Dubai and Abu Dhabi: Courier company LBC accepting donations in kind until November 30. Blankets, shoes, slippers, canned goods and toiletries needed
  • Dubai: St Mary's Catholic Church and Fr Tomasito Veneracion are collecting cash donations, which will go directly to the Philippine Red Cross

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), in a statement on Sunday, said it has mobilised $2 million (Dh7,430,000) aid for the typhoon victims in central Philippines.

The organisation will raise more funds as the needs become clearer. As a preliminary measure, WFP will send 40 metric tonnes of fortified biscuits from Dubai to the affected areas in the coming days.

In Abu Dhabi, Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Grace Princesa said the Bayanihan Council has allocated relief funds of Dh10,000 to the typhoon victims. The council is the umbrella organisation of Filipino groups in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain operating under the auspices of the embassy.

“Part of our Bayanihan [Filipino trait of uniting to help someone in times of need] set-up is to have a disaster committee that enables the community to act swiftly should help be needed back home. The money will be sent immediately,” Princesa told Gulf News.

Ernesto Refugio, Bayanihan Council chair, said he has instructed the 55 member organisations under their council to organise their own fund-raising campaigns within the week to add to their donations.

In Dubai, the Filipino community will accept in-kind donations starting Friday, the same day as the scheduled Brunch-For-A-Cause at the Philippine Consulate-General in Al Ghusais from 11am to 4pm. The benefit brunch will be Dh50 per person and all proceeds will be donated to the typhoon victims.

“We have been inundated with calls even from other nationalities that they would like to help our compatriots. We will be accepting relief goods such as canned goods, non-perishables, blankets, towels, and basic medicines,” Matilyn Bagunu, president of the Filipino community in Dubai, told Gulf News.

Filipino community organisations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi will hold special meetings at the consulate and embassy in Dubai to discuss ways to mobilise support for the victims.

Other residents who wish to give in-kind donations right away may start dropping them at the Karama and Abu Dhabi offices of LBC, the largest Philippine courier company which has branches in the UAE. The company has offered to send all goods to the Philippines free of charge.

“Residents can drop their donations in our offices until the end of November. We will organise a special team to pick up donations after November 15,” Roldan Vergara, LBC area head in Dubai, told Gulf News.

The shipping of the boxes may take 35 to 40 days. LBC advised against sending used clothes as per the Philippines’ customs policy. But they will accept blankets, shoes or slippers, canned goods, and toiletries. All boxes of goods should be addressed to the LBC Foundation that will send the goods to the Red Cross.

Fr Tomasito Veneracion, parish priest of St Mary’s Catholic Church, said a special mass will be held for the typhoon victims this Friday at 12.30pm. The church will also collect cash donations from the congregation to donate directly to the Philippine Red Cross.