People are coming together to help the Philippines deal with the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. The storm system that passed through the country has been classified as a “super typhoon,” one of the strongest on record, and people worldwide have taken notice and are doing their best to help.
The Filipino community in the Los Angeles area were among the first to announce a fundraiser to benefit relief efforts. The Philippine Disaster Relief Organization (PeDRO) worked with the Renew Our Minds and Heart Foundation (ROHMA) to organize a 5K walk in Van Nuys. A member of PeDRO said that the walk was originally intended to fund relief efforts for the region that was hit by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake last month. There was a good turnout for the walk, and the event lasted about an hour in Woodley Park. The organizations were able to raise several thousands of dollars. The money raised from the walk will be used to fund aid related to the earthquake and typhoon. The money will be handed over to the Philippine Consulate, which will handle the distribution of the money overseas.
Britain’s Disaster’s Emergency Committee (DEC) is also working to collect donations for the Philippines. Donations to the DEC had reached $13 million euros within 24 hours of launching its appeal. Others, like the Salvation Army UK and Ireland have teams in the Philippines that are arranging food transportation with the Air Force. The United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is also working to collect and track all money donated for relief efforts. Their latest report shows that Australia has made the largest contribution, giving $30 million in aid. Other countries such as Japan, the U.S., Denmark, and Sweden have also given generously.
Japan is among the countries most committed to helping the Philippines. Medical teams have already been sent to the worst stricken areas. Their quick response is due to the close relationship between both countries. The Philippines greatly helped Japan after it was struck by a tsunami in 2011. The Philippines Daily Inquirer was there when the team arrived in Manila. A member of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, Kenzo Iwakami, told the paper that Japan will, “never forget what the Philippines did for us in 2011.” The team brought much needed medicines with them to help. Dr. Joji Tomoika told the Inquirer, “This time, we help you. Because two years ago, you helped us.” Japan is also preparing to send troops from the Self-Defense Forces to help the Philippines recover.
National governments aren’t the only ones looking to help; major companies are also pledging millions to the Philippines. Samsung and banking groups HSBC and JP Morgan have each pledged $1 million in immediate assistance. The NBA and NBA players’ union have given $500,000, and FedEx announced that it would be working with relief groups to transport needed supplies to the most affected regions.
The most immediate help that benefits the Filipino community worldwide is coming from AT&T, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable. AT&T and Verizon have both announced that they will waive call and text fees to contact the Philippines. This will greatly help all those trying to get in touch with family and loved ones. AT&T’s wireless customers will be eligible for unlimited calls and texts until November 30th. Their landline and U-verse customers will get up to an hour of direct-dial calling. Verizon’s offer is to waive charges on residential landlines through December 7th. While both companies are offering slightly different deals, both offers are retroactive to the day the typhoon hit the Philippines. Time Warner says that all calls placed by its Business Services and Home Phone customers to landlines and cellphones in the Philippines will be free. Their offer, like AT&T’s is good until November 30th. Time Warner’s offer is also retroactive to November 8th. The companies COO also released a statement saying their offer was meant to help the Filipino-American community keep in touch with family and friends. Financial aid and relief teams continue to pour into the Philippines from across the globe, as everyone arrives to help their neighbor.