Local Filipino groups raise money to help Haiyan victims

Monday, November 11, 2013 | 8:19 p.m. CST; updated 6:53 a.m. CST, Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Typhoon-ravaged Philippine islands faced an unimaginably huge recovery effort that had barely begun Monday, as bloated bodies lay uncollected and uncounted in the streets and survivors pleaded for food, water and medicine.

COLUMBIA — Anecita Sancho phoned her family in the Philippines nine times over the weekend. All the calls went through, but with eight of them, she could hardly hear what they were saying.

On the ninth call, she could hear her brother's voice more clearly. Worried the line would fail, she quickly asked a question: Was her family OK? Her brother assured her that he, her mother and her sister were fine.

Want to help?

Contributions to the Missouri chapter of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations, NaFFAA Mo Region 3, P.O. Box 253 Boonville, MO 65233.

Donations can also been taken to the Meechu's Filipino Market, 1301 Vandiver Drive, Columbia.

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"I just took that answer with relief, but I'm still worried," said Sancho, chair of the Missouri chapter of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations or NAFFAA. "I don't know if the rest of my aunts and uncles are alive."

After Typhoon Haiyan swept through the Philippines on Friday, causing an estimated 10,000 deaths, Columbia residents who hail from the country plan to raise donations to help the victims.

Jun Gatica, owner of Meechu's Filipino Market, said he plans to set up a box where people can give clothes, canned goods, medicine and other necessities. The market is also accepting money for the victims.

The Filipino American Associations is also taking donations. It is considering giving the money it raises to Catholic Relief Services, the Red Cross and UNICEF, Sancho said. The chapter's members plan to meet Tuesday to make the decision.

"It's our goal that our money is going to the right place," Sancho said.

When Sancho read in the news that her hometown, Leyte, was in the path of the typhoon, she felt sick to her stomach.

"I had a feeling of helplessness," she said. "Now my family doesn't have a phone because all of the electricity is out. It's so miserable."

Gatica said that it's going to be hard to rebuild the areas devastated by the typhoon.

"It's unimaginable," Gatica said.

Orly Alcabasa, president of the Filipino-American Cultural Society of Mid-Missouri, said the Filipino community in the area is small but close.

"We have to remember that they are still going to need help six months from now," Alcabasa said. "We still need donations now, but we have to remember that this isn't going to be over in a week. The Filipino people need our help."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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