Amity Foundation responded to the emergency appeal of our Philippine partner KAISA immediately after Super-storm Hayian hit the Philippines. In November Amity allocated and forwarded HK$ 70,000 to KAISA to support their emergency relief efforts. Thereafter, Amity Hong Kong was granted HK$ 2,057,000 from the Hong Kong Disaster Relief Fund to help the victims in the Fifth district of Northern Iloilo.
Illilo, in the path of Typhoon Haiyan and badly hit like Tacloban, did not receive much media attention at first and was left out of many relief programmes. End of January, two Hong Kong Amity staff members arrived in the Philippines to oversee and participate in the second round of distribution. In Manila, Amity staff visited KAISA’s headquarter where they learnt the details of the ongoing relief operation. Teamed up with volunteers from KAISA, Amity went to Iloilo to distribute the second batch of relief goods in three municipalities San Dionisio, Ajuy and Batad. There, young volunteers from the local Philippines Red Cross and the ICAG fire brigades supported the operation. Proactive local authorities provided logistics and security.
Besides rice and milk powder, various essential non-food items were distributed to 5,000 families in 41 barangays. The remote and impoverished villages were still undersupplied. Villagers especially expressed their gratitude about the variety of useful items including candles, mosquito nets, blankets, food container, cutlery, slippers and sanitary products. In advance Amity’s local partner ICAG mastered the challenge in packing the large number of different items within a tough timetable.
Vast devastation could be still witnessed all over the province where people lack the funds and government’s support to start rebuilding their houses. Philippines people expressed their appreciation towards the Hong Kong Government and the people for the funding an efforts in the whole operation. However, many of the beneficiaries of the aid expressed their concerns in starting all over again and to rebuild their livelihood. In their respect, Amity will try to rebuild the capacity of some of the people in fishing villages to make a living on their own again. Amity is grateful for the donation of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club of HK$ 150,000 to build some boats for fishermen, which would have a sustained effect in rehabilitation lives.
Another urgent matter needing intermediation concerns the school buildings. During the relief operation, Amity staff became aware of the hardship and risk of children in school every day. In many schools, the classrooms are without roof and the walls have been much weakened by the typhoons as to be unsafe. Some beams on top are messy twisted an threatening to collapse. Due to limited study space, children and their teachers have to study in these damaged classrooms, under the sun, in the rain and the thunder storms, sometimes with the heavily damaged top structures above their heads all the time. With the rainy season soon to begin, there is urgent need for temporary roofing to keep the schoolchildren safe and healthy. We have secured pledges from Kaisa, local government units and barangay people in Ajuy that they will contribute in forms of coordination, transportation and labor to make classrooms safe. If Amity secures the funding, we will purchase the needed material and tools for the work to evaluate this operation to begin.
In general, the affected areas in Northern Iloilo are slowly on the way to rehabilitation. However, there is still no electricity in many areas and since the super storm took away almost every thing, like finishing boats, the most important source of livelihood for families along the coast and on the island. People, especially women, children and the elderly are still very dependant on food, sanitary and safety items provided by relief agencies. Your love and support can help the Philippine people to stand on their own feet again.
The Amity Foundation Hong Kong
Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp.
238 Nathan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR,China