Southlanders Raise Funds For Philippines Typhoon Relief Effort

By Gloria Alvarez, EGP Staff Writer

Efforts to raise money, food and other supplies have been launched by several groups in the Los Angeles area, including the Los Angeles chapter of the American Red Cross, which on Wednesday held two events to raise money for victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Philippines.

As of Wednesday, the reported death toll stood near 2,000, with many observers in the region saying it could rise to 10,000 or more as rescue teams reach remote areas cut off by the storm’s path of destruction early last Friday. More than 1 million people have been impacted by Typhoon Haiyan. Between 600,000 and 800,000 people are reported to be homeless and clean water, food and medical supplies are in dire short supply, according to the KNX 1070 radio station in Los Angeles.

“We only collect monetary donations because it allows us to move quicker. We don’t worry about shipping, they get exactly what they need, and it helps the country’s economy,” said Monica Diaz, spokeswoman for the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region on Wednesday about their fundraising efforts.

The group partnered with ABC7 to collect cash, checks and credit card donations at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and the Honda Center in Anaheim, Diaz said.

It also worked with CBS2/KCAL9 and CBS radio to operate a 12-hour long phone bank Wednesday.

The Los Angeles area is home to one of the largest Filipino communities in the country, with more than 330,000 people of Filipino descent living in the region.

So far, no relief teams from the Los Angeles Region have been sent to the Philippines, Diaz said.

The U.S., however, has “ordered the aircraft carrier George Washington and other Navy ships in the Pacific “to make the best speed for the Republic of the Philippines,” according to the New York Times.

The George Washington was in Hong Kong when it received its orders. The aircraft carrier, according to U.S. officials, carries 5,000 sailors and more than 80 aircraft.

The United Nations said Tuesday that $301 million in international emergency assistance is needed to help the millions of people devastated by the typhoon’s destruction. The World Health Organization (WHO) says there exists a massive health crisis in the Philippines, with the spread of disease caused by decaying bodies, unclean water and food supplies, and a shortage of medical doctors and medical supplies adding to the typhoon’s destruction of homes and other infrastructure.

Over the weekend, members of the Filipino community started their own efforts to raise funds for victims, as fears mounted over the inability to reach relatives in the most ravages zones.

The Red Cross said people can contact them to get assistance locating relatives.

Bind De la Vega, president of the Philippine Disaster Relief Organization (PeDRO) told the Los Angeles Daily News that about 300 people turned out Sunday for a walk in the San Fernando Valley.

Locally, the fundraising effort got a big boost from The Walt Disney Co., which announced Tuesday it was donating $500,000 to the American Red Cross and Save the Children to assist relief efforts in the Philippines. The company also announced that it will match any donations made by its employees.

“Our hearts go out to the millions of people in the Philippines affected by this tragedy,’’ said Disney Chairman and CEO Robert A. Iger. “We hope this donation and our employee matching gift contributions will help families begin to rebuild their lives in the wake of this devastation.”

Information from City News Service used in this report.

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November 14, 2013  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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