Filipino expatriates in Dubai are holding a fundraiser today to aid their compatriots in the southern Philippines who have been hit by a deadly typhoon.
Rescuers have so far recovered the bodies of 475 people killed by Typhoon Bopha, locally known as Pablo.
Two hundred fifty-eight bodies were found on the east coast of Mindanao Island and 191 were recovered in the gold-rush regions around New Bataan and Monkayo towns, said Major General Ariel Bernardo, head of an army division leading the search.
About 17 people were killed elsewhere in Mindanao, along with nine in the central islands, according to the civil defence office in Manila.
FilCom, which represents community groups in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, is organising a "lunch for a cause" from noon till 4pm today at the Pegasus Bar in the Chelsea Hotel in Satwa.
The lunch is Dh50, with proceeds going directly to Philippine flood victims.
"We cancelled our Christmas party to give way to this event," said Matilyn Bagunu, the new president of FilCom. "We expect at least 300 to attend, with some handing over their cash donations."
Donation boxes will also be available. Those directly affected by the typhoon have been invited to talk about the situation back home. There will also be entertainment and talks on UAE labour laws.
Crison Martesio, 37, a media planner in Dubai, said the high winds blew away the roof of his family's home, as with other homes in Monkayo town in the province of Compostela Valley.
"My parents, brothers, sister and seven nephews and nieces are all staying in an evacuation centre," he said. "It's very hard to contact them. Communications are still down and power has yet to be restored."
At least 200 died in Compostela Valley alone, including 78 villagers and soldiers who perished in a flash flood that swamped two emergency shelters and a military camp in the village of Andap in the municipality of New Bataan.
Mr Martesio's colleague Astrid Codilla, 31, who is also from Monkayo, is worried about the safety of her family, particularly her infant son Keith, 1.
"I feel so helpless being far away from them," she said. "They said they're OK but it's raining every night since Tuesday and the winds are very strong."
Forecasters yesterday said the typhoon may dissipate after two days due to a surge of cool and dry air.