Filipino-Americans launched a nationwide grassroots campaign in San Francisco today to raise money for victims of Typhoon Haiyan that organizers say will go directly to those most devastated by the disaster.
The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns launched “Taskforce Haiyan,” a national campaign to raise money for teams on the ground who will purchase supplies including food, clean water and medical supplies for distribution, NAFCON President Terrence Valen said.
In the Bay Area the task force is chaired by Valen, San Francisco Supervisors John Avalos and Jane Kim, and the Rev. Jeanelle Ablola.
About 36 provinces in the central Philippines are suffering the aftermath of the typhoon that hit the country on Friday, Valen said.
The groups who know the terrain would distribute resources at sites in the central Philippines including the Cebu and Bohol provinces and Legazpi City, Valen said.
“The grassroots effort is gaining traction because people don’t want to send money to the Philippine government. It goes directly to the people,” he said.
Local artist Ruby Ibarra has family in Tacloban City in the province of Leyte who survived the typhoon.
“As a Filipino American living here I personally feel useless. I wish I could go back home and help out my relatives,” she said.
Ibarra cautioned people to be careful of where they send their monetary donations. Donations sent through the Philippine government may get lost through different levels of people who may pocket or allocate the money to other places, she said.
Supervisor John Avalos said he’s heartened by people coming together to help typhoon victims but said relief efforts need to be “long-term and consistent” since “natural disasters happen with much frequency in the Philippines.”
Valen said NAFCON has already raised $100,000 since Friday and remitted a third of that amount to the Philippines.
Donations can be made to NAFCON online at www.nafconusa.org.
Jamey Padojino, Bay City News