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Santa Clarita Valley Filipino community rallies to aid typhoon victims

Some still waiting to hear from relatives in storm-devastated country

Posted: November 12, 2013 3:10 p.m.
Updated: November 12, 2013 3:10 p.m.
 

Santa Clarita Valley’s Filipino community was mobilizing Tuesday to provide aid to victims of Typhoon Haiyan — some knowing their families’ homes were destroyed and others uncertain of their loved ones’ survival.

Fred Bertulfo, co-founder of the Filipino American Association of Santa Clarita, hosted an emergency meeting Monday night to brainstorm ways to raise money to help victims. Some 11 million people are estimated to be affected by the storm.

Bertulfo said he’s been unable to talk directly with his two brothers and other relatives in the coastal town of Villaba, Eastern Visayas, in the Philippines. The area is about 60 miles west of Tacloban City, arguably the country’s hardest-hit area.

A city of about 220,000 people on Leyte Island, Tacloban bore the full force of the winds and the tsunami-like storm surges Friday. Most of the city is in ruins, a tangled mess of destroyed houses, cars and trees. Malls, garages and shops have all been stripped of food and water by hungry residents.

Bertulfo learned through Facebook that the homes of at least one brother and a nephew were destroyed in the typhoon that hit the central Philippines on Friday. Meteorologists say it was among the strongest storms on record.

“Our home has no more roof,” he said, referring to his brother’s home. “The roof was blown away.”

“The main concern of our association is to buy medical supplies for the (Tacloban) victims.”

The association plans to hold a fundraising “fair” on Nov. 23, which would include entertainment, food and crafts specific to the culture of the Philippines. Details are still being worked out and a venue has yet to be determined, Bertulfo said Tuesday.

Mul Tayoba, past president of the association, is preparing fliers to promote the fundraiser, he said.

Many of his relatives live in Bacolod City, the most populous city in Western Visayas, about 200 miles west of the typhoon’s center, he said. He has been able to reach his family by phone.

“Our family was hit by the typhoon, but they said they were fine,” he said. “There were strong winds that hit but they’re OK.”

The Tayoba family was not in the direct path of the typhoon and, although they were affected by it, no family members were hurt as those who were in the direct path of the typhoon.

Leo Carrillo, owner of Fiesta Grill on Lyons Avenue, spoke to his brother by phone from the Philippines capital of Manila a couple of days ago, he said.

“They’re fine,” he said. “They still felt it in Manila. There were strong winds, 60 to 70 miles per hour, but it was just strong winds compared to the destruction in Tacloban.”

Besides the planned Nov. 23 fundraiser, the Filipino American Association of Santa Clarita hopes to stage a fundraising concert for typhoon victims in February or March, organizers said.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that desperately needed food, water and medical aid are only trickling into Tacloban City while thousands of victims jammed the damaged airport Tuesday, seeking to be evacuated.

The official death toll from the disaster rose to 1,774 on Tuesday, though authorities have said they expect it to rise more. They fear estimates of 10,000 dead are accurate and might be low.

jholt@signalscv.com
661-287-5527
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt

 

 

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