Filipino-American Groups Jump Into Action After Typhoon Haiyan

From finding missing loved ones to organizing donation drives to getting supplies to those most in need, associations with ties to the Philippines are offering their support to the storm-ravaged country.

The destruction and devastation left in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan is making it difficult for aid to reach those who need it most. The storm, which struck the Philippines last Friday, is believed to be the strongest system ever recorded to make landfall and is just the latest tragedy to strike a country that has already seen a 7.2 magnitude earthquake and massive flooding and landslides in recent weeks.

Filipino-American organizations have been hard at work since the first forecasts predicting the catastrophic storm were made, and they have ramped up their efforts to assist with recovery and rebuilding.

Leading the Charge

The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), an umbrella organization that represents other Filipino-American groups, typically conducts fundraising around this time of year to help those in need during the holidays and to fund projects for the coming year. But for Bing Branigin, a member of NaFFAA’s board of governors and national coordinator of the NaFFAA and Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation’s (PDRF) disaster relief efforts, switching the fundraising focus was a no-brainer.

“I just turned to our officers and said, ‘We’re going to do these events for the typhoon,’” she said. “We turned an already-planned concert with the Philippine Nurses Association of Metropolitan D.C. into a large fundraising event and raised about $8,000 for the Philippine Red Cross.” Branigin transformed another event in Virginia Beach, Virginia, last weekend into a typhoon-relief fundraiser, and the group held a telethon earlier this week.

NaFFAA is also coordinating with various medical supply groups and the public to get critical items donated and shipped to the region, Branigin said. “Filipino-Americans are becoming desperate. There’s no news, nothing, no help. We just want to do our part to get whatever aid we can to those who need it most, as quick as possible,” she said.

Nurses Campaign

Leaning on their network of 198,000 Filipino-American nurses, the Philippine Nurses Association of America, Inc., launched a web page to accept donations. Funds raised will help bring supplies to the storm-ravaged region.

“PNA of America will lead the effort by nurses across the United States, so that we may bring relief to those that have suffered and help rebuild and heal a nation,” President Victoria Navarro said in a statement [PDF]. “A strong concerted effort will enable us to deliver the necessary critical aid.”

Running Miles, Lighting Candles

The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) is being active—literally—in their approach to fundraising.

NAFCON, along with LAYA—Migrant Youth for Change and Action, is sponsoring a “5k Run for Relief” for victims of the recent tragedies in the Philippines.

Also, local NAFCON chapters stretching from Southern California to New York will participate in a candlelight vigil on Wednesday night. The events will include community forums to discuss the tragedy, cultural events, and guest speakers.

Donations received through the run and vigil will benefit the organization’s Bayanihan Relief and Rehabilitation campaign, which assists communities in the Philippines affected by the typhoon.

(photo by DVIDSHUB/Flickr)

Rob Stott

By Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. MORE

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