Community unites to help victims of Philippines typhoon

Community unites to help victims of Philippines typhoon

Taxi driver Tahirul Hasan is donating a share of his fares to the disaster appeal

Aid supplies for the Philippines are loaded at Oxfam's Bicester depot

Ariel Lanada

Tess Torres

Oleri Galope

First published in News Witney Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

OXFORDSHIRE is rallying round to send donations and relief to the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan.

About 3,000 Filipinos live in the county and last night many of them were doing what they could to contact family members or help raise money for victims.

The storm hit the country last Friday and has affected more than 11m people. So far more than 2,000 people are confirmed dead but officials fear the count will rise.

Ariel Lanada, 41, chairman of the Filipino Community of Oxfordshire (FilCom Oxford), has set up a fund to gather donations for members who have relatives hit by the disaster.

The senior charge nurse at the John Radcliffe Hospital said more than £1,000 had come in within 24 hours, adding: “We have been overwhelmed by the response of the people of Oxfordshire.”

The 41-year-old, of Weyland Road in Headington, said he grew up in a Banay Island village of 112 homes and over half of them had been destroyed by the storm.

He said: “When I heard the news I was shocked and very worried. It’s the worst thing to feel that you are away from your family and you are helpless.”

FilCom Oxford member Tess Torres, 50, a nurse at the Nuffield Orthopaedics Centre, said staff at the hospital were helping by covering the shifts of those who had families members affected by the disaster.

She said: “Everybody from every culture has asked how they can help.”

Student Oleri Galope, 21, the president of the Oxford Philippines Society, has organised a fundraising dinner for victims.

The 3rd year University of Oxford law student said: “We are all affected by it. I have friends who still have no knowledge of what happened to their relatives.”

The dinner at Oriel College takes place next Saturday.

Yesterday morning lorries carrying 17 tonnes of aid left from relief charity Oxfam’s Bicester warehouse.

Oxfam spokesman Ian Bray said: “All this equipment is here from public donations.

“We are told we are in a time of austerity but when the public see these images on television they respond magnificently and extremely generously.”

Chipping Norton taxi driver Tahirul Hasan, 48, has pledged to give 10 per cent of a month’s earnings to victims of the disaster via Oxfam. He said: “I hope my little donation makes a little bit of change for them.”

Witney Rotary Club is holding a collection at the Woolgate Shopping Centre tomorrow and Didcot Rotary Club will be collecting donations in the town tomorrow and Sunday.

The British Red Cross is also be holding collections at Tesco supermarkets in the county this weekend.

Royal Navy carrier on way as appeal hits £23m

Royal Navy helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious is being sent to the Philippines to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan, David Cameron announced yesterday.

Speaking during a visit to India, the Prime Minister and Witney MP said that the ship will replace the destroyer HMS Daring, which has already been deployed to the Philippines.

Its helicopters may be used to assist with the distribution of food and water to survivors stranded in remote locations in the Pacific nation, and its facilities to make water drinkable are likely to be in demand in a country where supplies have been disrupted by the typhoon.

The Ministry of Defence said that Illustrious, which has been taking part in war games, should arrive in the Philippines on November 24 or 25, with 900 crew and seven helicopters on board.

Mr Cameron said: “What happened in the Philippines is an absolute tragedy.

“You can see the devastation, the suffering, and it’s quite clear that we are going to need long-term help for those people.”

The news comes as the Disasters Emergency Committee announced its appeal had raised more than £23m in just two days.

The funds, made up of online, text and phone donations, will go directly to help some of the 11 million people thought to have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

The UN says more than 11 million people are believed to have been affected.

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