The United Nations reported this week more than 11 million people are believed to have been affected and some 673,000 displaced by Typhoon Yolanda.
Cal Poly students and faculty members of Filipino descent are dealing with some of the emotions associated with disastrous outcomes of the Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
Although Filipinos live all across the globe, many of them still have close ties to their country. The United Nations reported this week more than 11 million people are believed to have been affected and some 673,000 displaced.
“It’s hard for me,” Cal Poly degree audit analyst K. Sheerin Castillo said. “I still feel a very tight affinity with the people there. My friends and family are still there. I’ve even been to some of the places the storm hit, too, which is petrifying to me.
Castillo’s immediate family lives in Manila, north of where the storm hit. But they are still being affected by the typhoon.
“It’s all connected,” she said. “There is a close link between what has happened to those in the Visayas and those people living in Manila.”
Cultural clubs on campus have been teaming up to raise awareness and funds for this disaster. Pilipino Cultural Exchange (PCE) club president Calvin Choy and co-coordinator Serena Brown have set up a webpage that allows people to donate online.
“We also have jars that circulate around the room so people can just drop a couple dollars in,” Choy said. “At PCE performing group practices, our traditional and hip-hop groups as well as our choir, we also stop by with the jars.”
PCE is selling lumpia, which is a Filipino version of an eggroll, and baking cookies this weekend to raise funds.
There are also international mobilization efforts happening in Manila to pack goods and prepare resources to ship to the Visayas Islands.
“I spoke with my sister in Manila; she said every time she watches the news, she cries,” Castillo said. “They have to bring piles of bodies out of the streets.”
Castillo has been proactive with helping her native country in the midst of this tragedy by posting links to her Facebook encouraging her friends to send donations to the Facebook page of Ateneo de Manila University, her alma mater.
Psychology senior Nina Reyes, a first-generation Filipino American, whose family is also from Manila, acknowledges efforts the world has made to help in times like these.
Countries around the world, including the United States, have been sending troops to help in the aftermath of the catastrophe.
“It makes me proud that we are still a world that is willing to help out other countries during their times of need,” Reyes said.
When Reyes found out about this disaster, she said she was most worried about her parents, who have siblings and parents still living in Manila.
“Whenever a disaster occurs, it pulls at their heart strings to see their former home have to go through this,” Reyes said.
Environmental engineering junior Sarah Daliva has family being directly affected by the storm in Capiz and Iloilo, provinces in the Visayas.
“All my family that lives there is completely displaced,” Daliva said. “Everyone has been evacuated. A lot of my family has been evacuated to where my other relatives are in Manila, but so far a lot of them are in a lot of random places.”
Daliva described contacting relatives as a “waiting game.”
“When the storm first hit, it was really hard to get in contact with them,” Daliva said. “We waited on them to contact us. We didn’t know who to call or where they were.”
Damage from the typhoon left Daliva’s family members close to empty-handed.
“So far, all I know is that the roof and some of the walls have been completely ripped away from one of my relative’s homes.” Daliva said. “We’re all just grateful that no one ended up lost or hurt during the typhoon … I’m trying to keep my spirits up and send positive vibes out.”
Correction: The original version of this story misspelled Manila, the capital of the Philippines.