Ondoy Aftermath

Manitoba Filipinos raise funds for victims

WINNIPEG – Filipinos in Winnipeg and around the world are responding to calls to aid victims of flooding after Bagyong Ondoy (Typhoon Ketsana) dumped a record amount of rain on Metro Manila and surrounding areas on Saturday, September 26.

As of press time, 300 people have died in the Philippines and at least 37 are missing due to the flooding. Although floodwaters have subsided in and around Manila, some areas such as the village of San Vicente, near Angono, Rizal are still under water.

Here, what we need primarily are food, clothing and medicine. We also have nothing to drink,” said resident, Jun Pabuhinog, three days after flooding began.

Winnipegger Mike Bangit told Pilipino Express on Monday that his 83-year-old mother, Luz Bangit and his brother-in-law, Rey Constantino, were still stranded on the second floor of their home in Karangalan Village, Cainta Rizal.

Water started rising in the subdivision Saturday morning,” said Bangit’s wife Cecile. “My brother-in-law, Rey, was supposed to go out but decided to stay due to the inclement weather, not expecting how bad it would become. In a few minutes the flood rose and he and my mother-in-law had to go to the second floor of the house. They are still there until now.” (Monday afternoon, Winnipeg time.)

Rey’s wife, Carol Bangit-Constantino, took their children to Quezon City early Saturday morning. They were also stranded there and are now staying at an evacuation centre.

Record breaking weather

According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Ondoy brought 341 millimetres of rain in its first six hours alone – equal to about month’s worth of rain for Metro Manila. The 24-hour total rainfall of 455 millimetres was the highest ever recorded in PAGASA’s history.

  Lito Taruc, Co-Chair, Fil-Can Disaster Relief Fund Committee
Fred De Villa, Co-Chair, Fil-Can Disaster Relief Fund Committee
Cecille Bangit's 83-year-old mother-in-law was stranded on the second floor of her home for days
The sudden rise of floodwaters was exacerbated when three reservoirs reached critical levels and were forced to open their gates. Ipo Dam in Bulacan was the first to release water at 1:20 am early Saturday morning followed by La Mesa Dam in Quezon City when its level reached 80.15 metres. Angat Dam, also in Bulacan, opened at 11:00 am.

According to Joe Zaldarriaga of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco), “Power was disconnected in many areas so as to ensure the safety of the public.” However, deaths by electrocution have been reported.

The damage caused by Ondoy is currently estimated to be about 5 billion pesos.

The homes of about two million people were damaged on the day of the flood, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said.

Nearly 380,000 people have sought shelter in schools, churches and other evacuation centers.

Aid from Manitoba

Meanwhile, Manitoba Premier Gary Doer offered his condolences to families who have lost relatives as a result of the typhoon and pledged $100,000 in support of the relief effort. The Manitoba Council for International Co-operation (MCIC) will administer the money.

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz and Councillor Mike Pagtakhan also expressed their support for fund raising activities in a press release.

Several Filipino organizations in Winnipeg have mobilized to collect funds to aid the recovery efforts in the Philippines. The Fil-Can Disaster Relief Fund Committee began receiving donations at the Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba (PCCM) on Monday, September 28 and a prayer service was held on Wednesday, September 30.

There is unity and cooperation among the Filipinos in Winnipeg in times of disaster like this,” said PCCM president Rod Cantiveros. “PCCM is always open to any group for their fund raising efforts. Pilipino pa rin tayo.”

We encourage all our kababayan to come to the Philippine Centre to make a donation,” said Fil-Can disaster committee co-chair, Fred De Villa. “Donations of $10 and above will receive a tax receipt from the Canadian Red Cross.” De Villa added that the committee will accept donations of non-perishable food and clothing but monetary donations are preferred as they are more efficient and will reach victims of the flood sooner. Cheques should be made payable to the “Fil-Can Disaster Relief Fund Committee.”

We will ask the Canadian Red Cross to send the money to the areas that need help the most – not all over the Philippines,” said committee co-chair, Lito Taruc.

Glenda Lagadi of Glenda’s Tax and her husband Farhad Sultanpour donated $1000 directly to the ABS-CBN fundraising call.

I was watching TFC’s coverage of the flooding and it made me cry for the victims of the storm. So I called the numbers on the TV right away and my husband and I made a direct deposit donation.”

The Fil-Can disaster committee will continue to accept donations from individuals and organizations until Saturday, October 3 when it will host a day of entertainment and fund raising at the PCCM from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Funds raised up to that date will be sent to the Canadian Red Cross immediately.

A locked drop box will remain in the lobby of the PCCM after October 3 to receive donations in preparation for further emergencies in the near future. With an average of 20 cyclones each year in the Philippines, another crisis is a distinct possibility. As of press time, PAGASA was monitoring two more weather disturbances that may develop into the next big storm to be named Pepeng.

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