Calabanga, Philippines – AVSI is collecting emergency funds to support victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Calabanga region of the Philippines. All donations will be used to provide basic items including food, clean water, and medicine all of which have become scarce and increasingly difficult to access throughout the island nation.AVSI’s response builds on relationships with communities and schools who have been supported by our Distance Support program for 20 years. All donations from the emergency campaign will be distributed in partnership with the Dominican Sisters of Blessed Imelda in Calabanga, ensuring that help reaches the families who are most in need.
“The typhoon arrived earlier than expected”, recounts Sister Margherita Della Benetta, speaking on the phone with AVSI. “It was supposed to hit the coast of Summar at around 9 in the morning, but arrived at 4 instead. From that point on we know very little; all communications were interrupted until Monday, and 41 provinces remain entirely isolated, accessible only to military and government emergency response officials.”
The death toll has risen above 10 thousand people, and hundreds of thousands have been displaced from their homes. The vast majority of those displaced are now seeking refuge in Vietnam. Over 950 thousand families have been affected, amounting to nearly 4 million people in total, and according to UNICEF more than 40% of them are children and youth under the age of 18.
Those at the heart of the disaster are struggling to find food and water. The streets are filled with a foul stench, and the communications blackout has made locating the dead extremely difficult. A social network was established by the Filipino government to better facilitate the search, but many obstacles remain.
One family of fishermen, previously living in one of the areas hardest hit by the typhoon, has disappeared without a trace. The family was evacuated last Thursday, but one of the brothers and his mother remained. “If I am going to die, I want to die in my own home,” said the woman stubbornly. Her last message was the following: “We no longer have a home. The ocean took everything. I am heading toward the school where the rest of the evacuees are waiting”.
“It’s critical that we begin helping out immediately,” explained Giampaolo Silvestri , General Secretary of the AVSI Foundation.