Killing over 2,000 people and displacing around 600,000 others, the impact of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines is being felt in Parksville Qualicum Beach.
“It was so heartbreaking to see it all,” said Luisa Loberiza, a local member of the Mid-Island Canadian Filipino Society who has been watching the devastation on TV, and in close contact with family in the country.
She has heard that one cousin right in the path of the devastation is OK.
She was happy to report that her family in the Philippines is in the north, safe from the wide swath of damage through the middle of the country, but the stories have touched her.
She spoke of one particularly sad story she saw on a Philippine channel of a guard who spent the peak of the typhoon saving several other people’s lives only to get home and discover his three children had not survived.
She was initially just going to send some money herself, maybe along with a few family and friends, but as she talked to people the idea kept growing.
“Customers and staff kept asking me how my family was and offering to help,” said the Save-On-Foods pharmacy employee.
She also put it out through the society, of which her son Paolo is president, and when they heard the Canadian government is going to match donations to approved charitable groups they decided to send all the donations they can collect through the Canadian Red Cross.
Money is better than goods because it costs a lot and takes time to ship things half way around the world, Loberiza explained.
It costs $100 to send 25 kg of food, she explained. Plus that $100 goes a lot further in the Phillipines so they are asking for money only, whatever small amounts people want to donate will make a difference, she said.
People can donate through Luisa at Save-On or call her at 250-248-3260, Paolo at 250-586-6328 or Kabayan Oriental Foods, 120a Middleton in Parksville near Pacific Brimm, open from 2:30-7 p.m.
People can also donate through groups like the Red Cross (www.redcross.ca, 1-800-418-1111), UNICEF, World Vision and others. Google “CBC typhoon help” for a good list and easy links to approved organizations.