x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

UAE groups pledge thousands for Filipino typhoon victims

UAE-based Filipinos have mobilised aid efforts to help flood victims in their home country.

A resident pushes through floodwaters yesterday in Calumpit, a town north of the capital, Manila, after Typhoon Nalgae. Jay Directo / AFP
A resident pushes through floodwaters yesterday in Calumpit, a town north of the capital, Manila, after Typhoon Nalgae. Jay Directo / AFP

Filipinos have wasted no time in mobilising aid efforts to help flood victims in their home country after it was battered by its second typhoon in less than a week.

Typhoon Nalgae, known locally as Quiel, lashed the Philippines on Saturday and left at least three people dead in the northern parts of the country. It came on the heels of Typhoon Nesat, which killed 52 in the same region before blowing out on Friday.

Bayanihan UAE, the Filipino umbrella group for Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, will donate Dh10,000 from its standing fund.

FilCom, its counterpart in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, was meeting last night to discuss its response.

Bayanihan will write to its 68 constituent groups encouraging them to raise further funds from their members by October 14, which it will pass on to the Philippine Red Cross or the Catholic aid agency Caritas Manila.

"We need to act now," said Bal Junio, 42, the president of the Bayanihan UAE.

"Our countrymen badly need our help."

It is urging people to donate money to the charities, following problems with donations after Typhoon Ketsana in 2009, when some aid recipients had to pay for relief boxes to clear customs.

Bayanihan UAE has identified the worst-hit areas as Pangasinan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, La Union, Isabela, Benguet, and the low-lying areas within Metro Manila.

In Dubai, the governing council of the Filipino Community in Dubai and the Northern Emirates (FilCom Dubai-NE), the umbrella organisation of 99 community groups, met last night to discuss how it intends to step up its disaster response.

Alan Bacason, the president of FilCom's governing council, said the council was planning a community-wide fund-raising campaign, but would need to seek approval from the UAE Red Crescent Authority.

In the meantime, anyone wishing to help can send money directly to the Philippine Red Cross or to the Citizen's Disaster Response Centre in Manila, he said.

Among the flood victims is the family of Lourdes Biason in Malasiqui, Pangasinan.

"I called my brother yesterday and he's concerned about the family's livelihood," said the 46-year-old housemaid, who has lived in Abu Dhabi for 24 years.

"The floodwaters have covered our one-hectare rice field and they are waiting for the waters to recede."

rruiz@thenational.ae