Remembering Typhoon Haiyan / One Year of Grassroots Fundraising for Relief and Rehabilitation

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Photo by Nikki Deleon

A year ago today Typhoon Haiyan’s (aka Yolanda) 195 mph winds devastated the Philippines. Three days later, over 11 million Filipinos in Eastern Visayas were affected, with over 6,000 recorded deaths.

For this one-year anniversary, rather than focus on the damage done and the Aquino Administration’s slow response to the disaster, we want to highlight a different story. Grassroots Filipino American organizations quickly mobilized to collect donations, gather materials, and send activists to help on the ground.

BAYAN USA organizations in Washington and Oregon raised a combined total of over $50,000 towards Mindanao-based relief organization BALSA. According to the U.S.-based partner organization for BALSA, National Alliance of Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), Washington State was one of the top three states for Haiyan donations, coming out third after California and New York.

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Later, BAYAN activists from both Seattle and Portland traveled to the Philippines for the first two BALSA National Relief Missions, to hand out relief packs and document the aid work. Altogether, over the past year, NAFCON raised over $1 million for grassroots relief in the typhoon-effected areas of Samar and Leyte. View a full report of NAFCON’s Typhoon Haiyan Relief and Rehabilitation work here: http://bit.ly/1w10wuv

Our focus on the typhoon-effected areas in the Philippines continued into this year, as we sent over 20 community members to the Philippines in 2013 to connect the drastic impact of climate change to our own lives and policies here in the U.S.

This past summer, we sent 5 youth and student organizers from Seattle and Portland to the Philippines to join Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network’s typhoon relief missions. A reportback of their experience will be held in Seattle on Sunday, November 30. Visit abexpo14.tumblr.com for more details.

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Currently, organizers in Eastern Visayas continue their relief effort by organizing residents in the movement for a truly accountable government, as well as raising awareness about climate change. BAYAN organizers in Seattle hosted BALSA Mindanao climate activist May Vargas during her U.S. travels. As a delegate from the Philippines, she joined over 2,000 people from 162 other countries for the People’s Climate March in New York this past September.

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May Vargas of BALSA Mindanao at NAFCON’s General Assembly this past October

Please consider making a tax-deductible gift to continue the progress we’ve made in not only rebuilding the Philippines, but also in working towards solutions that affect the root causes of these climate calamities. Please click here to quickly and easily donate for lasting solutions.

Maraming maraming salamat,
BAYAN USA Pacific Northwest

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