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November 14, 2013

Filipino American community rallies for aid after typhoon

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

SOUTHFIELD — The number of people in the Philippines affected by Typhoon Haiyan, which hit land on Nov. 8, was staggering. An estimated 2.5 million now need food and water, 660,000 have been displaced, and there are more than 2,000 dead.

Organizations across the country, including many in metro Detroit, are gearing up to collect critical supplies and funds in an attempt to avert a humanitarian crisis in the wake of one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall in recorded history.

“The hardest-hit area, there’s no way to even get into the most-needed part of that area, unless the helicopters fly in there,” said Ryan Rosario, president of the Filipino American Community Council of Michigan (FILAMCCO), an umbrella group for 45 member organizations. That’s where the money is involved. I’d like to appeal to their hearts for donations of money and basic supplies.”

Rosario said FILAMCCO held an emergency meeting Nov. 12 to organize its local relief efforts. The group set up a PayPal account through its nonprofit FILAMCCO Foundation. They also organized a collection effort at Southfield’s Philippine American Community Center of Michigan.

Money and supplies, including clothes, blankets, canned goods and personal hygiene kits, are being collected at the center, located at 17356 Northland Park Court, near Eight Mile and the Southfield Freeway in Southfield.

A telethon is also in the planning stages.

Rosario called upon the Filipino American community — 15,000 strong in metro Detroit, numbering 30,000 in the state of Michigan and 34 million in the United States — to assist relief efforts through dedicated charitable groups.

Ruth Rush, of St. Clair Shores, said her father, brother, grandparents, niece and two nephews were in Western Samar when Typhoon Haiyan — also known Typhoon Yolanda — devastated the island province.

She said it took days to reach them over the phone.

“This Monday, Nov. 11, my brother went to Catbalogan City. He went there to get food, to get water, to make a phone call. He called my sister in Manila. That’s how I got the news that they’re alive,” Rush said.

Donations for Typhoon Yolanda relief can be sent directly to the FILAMCCO Foundation (Tax ID #38-322-8668), 17356 Northland Park Court, Southfield, Mich. 48075. For more information, call Philippine American Community Center of Michigan Executive Director Tony Kho at (248) 755-6122.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.