Many Filipino expats in Vietnam have been raising funds and praying for dead and missing victims of Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban city and other devastated areas.
Praying and praying
Alex Cerdan, manager of a Jolibee fast-food outlet on Vo Van Tan Street, District 3, told Tuoi Tre on Tuesday that staff at all Jolibee outlets across Vietnam have volunteered to donate their one-day salary to support the victims.
“I’m very sad. I cannot help but cry. I feel sorry for the children. They are just starting their lives” – said Alex.
“We try to donate, we know it’s a very small thing compared to what they have experienced. I hope that they can use it to re-build their homes” – he added.
Son Lascano, another manager at the outlet, said he feels shocked and bad because he did not imagine the intensity of this super typhoon which destroyed everything in its path.
Son told Tuoi Tre that his many family-in-law members are living in Tacloban so his wife are seeking words from her loved ones there.
“My wife’s family lives there. I always think they survive. I hope at least they are alive, but till now we don’t know any information. The only thing we can do from here is just to hope and pray that everything will be fine” – said Son.
Michael Borron, another Filipino expat in Ho Chi Minh City, said that he was worried so much since his father was living in one of provinces affected by the typhoon but he was so happy after learning that his father was safe.
“There are no electricity, mobile signals, food and water there. We just continue praying and praying” – said Michael.
Raise money on Facebook
Helen Nguyen, whose grandmother is Vietnamese, and her boyfriend Phil Veinott have called on their friends on Facebook and relatives to donate money to the victims.
Phil said so far he has raised more than US$1,000 in which he and Helen donated $100 and the money will be transferred directly to the Philippines Red Cross.
“My girlfriend was born there and she has friends and family there and the Filipinos really need support and donations now” – said Phil.
Helen said her parents are living in Manila but they have Vietnamese friends in Tacloban but so far they have been in touch with just half of them thanks to help from a local reporter.
Chino Matthew Balo, who used to teach English in HCMC for one year and a half, told Tuoi Tre that he and his friends are collecting food, clothes and other necessities to help victims of the typhoon.
“I felt a great sorrow when I heard about the evacuation center being hit by the storm and watching hundreds of people drown because the water level rose so fast” – Chino said.
Addie Pamplona, an alumnus of RMIT Vietnam and has been living here for 4 years, said: “Whatever happened to them, whether their house got destroyed or they lost their loved ones, is all water under the bridge now. So, I think they should just focus on helping one another because we have lived through much worse times”.
“They may take the Japanese for an example. When the Fukushima disaster hit Japan, you don't see looting or robbery. It got people closer together and that will make recovery that much easier” – he concluded.