In response to two typhoons in the Philippines that killed more than 300 people in the past two weeks, the Filipino Student Association (FSA) has been reaching out to the community to help students and families who have been affected by the storms.
Typhoon Ketsana struck the Philippines with strong winds and record-setting rain on Sept. 24, causing flooding and landslides that killed at least 293 and left several dozens missing. Manila faced the worst of the flooding.
Ketsana also caused 99 casualties in Vietnam, 14 in Cambodia and 16 in Laos, according to the Associated Press.
“Half of the first floor has been flooded in one of my cousin’s houses,” College senior Guilly Rebagay said. “Cars were floating in the water, which has reached gate level. The entire city of Manila is in distress.”
Only a week after Ketsana, Typhoon Parma hit a still-recovering Philippines on Saturday, killing more than 20 people.
The storms have left about $200 million in damages to agriculture and infrastructure in the Philippines, according to the New York Times.
“The total amount of rain that hit during Hurricane Katrina hit the Philippines in just two hours,” Rebagay said.
Emory’s FSA is collaborating with the FSA groups at Georgia Tech and Georgia State to help raise funds and collect donations for relief efforts, said AJ Pascasio, FSA president.
Families of Emory students are safe and have not had to evacuate their homes in the Philippines, Pascasio said. Students from other schools, he said, are still facing uncertainty concerning the situation back at home.
“There are students [at Georgia Tech and Georgia State] whose families could be missing,” Pascasio said. “They haven’t been able to communicate with them.”
Many of these students, Pascasio said, have families living in rural areas, making communication even more difficult.
The Filipino populations at Emory, Tech and Georgia State are small, with about 15 members in Emory’s FSA, Pascasio said.
He said that there is a great sense of community between the students and because there are relatively few of them, they are looking for help from others.
“What we’re trying to do is help our brothers and sisters back in the Philippines,” Rebagay said.
FSA is collecting money, non-perishable food items, bottled water and drinks, clothing and mats to sleep on.
FSA will be taking donations until the end of the month. The group will be at Wonderful Wednesdays to collect items, but students can also LearnLink Pascasio about donations. He said that he and other members of FSA will be doing donation pick-ups throughout the month.
Everything FSA receives will be going to the Philippine National Red Cross.
“We’re collecting anything we can,” he said. “Everything is needed.”
Participating in the relief effort is a meaningful way to serve the community, Pascasio said.
“We want to do whatever we can to help,” he said. “The little we can do will all add up in the end.”
— Contact Alice Chen at firstname.lastname@example.org