Safe from Harvey, U.S. Pinoys help flood victims
MANILA, Philippines – As monster storm Harvey hit southeast Texas, particularly the city of Houston, Filipinos in the United States set out to help the victims. (READ: Texas flood disaster by the numbers)
Houston, the US's fourth largest city, was inundated with record high rainfall, swamping the metropolis with deadly floods.
"It is bad and growing worse," Texas Governor Greg Abbott told Agence France-Presse on Sunday, August 27. He added that the storm had inflicted billions of dollars in damage. Reports say that the death toll has reached 22.
The Department of Foreign Affairs reported no Filipino casualties in the affected areas, home to at least 80,000 Filipinos.
Safe from Harvey's wrath, many Filipinos in the United States organized efforts to help rescue and collect donations for the victims.
One of which is the Houston Pinoy Gun Club (HPGC), a shooting club with at least 900 members in Texas.
With most of Houston submerged in flood, a local dialysis center was having trouble getting patients in need of urgent treatment. With rubber boats and tall pick-up trucks, the HPGC is helping transport patients and deliver supplies.
"When one of my Filipino friend who happens to be the manager of the dialysis clinic asked for our help, we responded to his call. I am also a nurse here in Houston and I know how importance this is,” said Paul Vizcarra Osorio, who founded the group in 2010.
"We decided to show that HPGC is full of bayanihan spirit most especially during times like this,” Osorio said.
Asked to describe the situation there, Osorio said that it’s “getting worse everyday."
"[Harvey] is slow and it has brought a lot of rain water in the area of Houston and its vicinity. Most of the houses are flooded, people are trapped, some do not have electricity [and] are scared and hungry,” Osorio added.
According to Osorio, Filipino nurses in Houston, including his wife, have also been stuck inside hospitals for days because of the deluge of patients.
Now HPGC is also trying to rev up their campaign by seeking donations and mobilizing other groups to help. Osorio said that other Filipino groups and many of their own members in Houston were unable to volunteer because most of have also been affected.
The floods, however, isn't stopping Filipinos in other areas from sending support.
Several Filipino-American organizations in other states have started raising funds and collecting donations for the victims of the hurricane.
The Austin Filipino American Organization, Philippine American New Jersey Jaycees (in coordination with JCI USA), Filipino American Association of Southern Ohio - FASO, the Filipino Young Professionals of Houston (FYP), and many other Filipino groups have launched their own donation drives.
Those who want to help are asked to send either money or supplies. Check out their posts here.
Consul General Adelio Angelito Cruz said Filipino nationals in the affected areas who may require assistance can call the Consulate General in Los Angeles (which has jurisdiction over Texas) at +1 (213) 587-0758. – Rappler.com