Update and Trek to Tacloban, Philippine Disaster area

Our Woodstock-Oxford Relief efforts are going well as we continue to receive reports and horrific stories of what is happening there.  To answer some questions:  Yes, our Rotary Club qualifies for the Canada match on funds we receive and Yes, we plan to do a Matching Global Grant with Rotary Foundation to work on renewal projects there.  In the meantime, we continue to support their current needs, mainly for Water, Food and Medicine.

In addition the local Woodstock Filipino Community is working on coordinating a FUNraising event in early December and our Mississauga area Rotarians are doing likewise.  Some have asked how we are distributing the money and this is being done via our trusted Rotary leaders and friends in D3860, the main area of the disaster.  I have been there several times to speak at conferences and work on Matching Grant projects, so know many of our Rotary friends well.

I am attaching a report received recently from PDG Toto, who is heading up most of the Disaster Relief efforts by Rotary.  I am also attaching a flyer our Rotary Club is using to promote awareness of what we are doing.  D7080 PDG Ian Ferguson is also heading up a District wide movement to assist.

You can also see another report on Rotary relief activities by clicking here.

One of the things that drives us to be so involved in Rotary projects like this disaster relief effort are the friends and stories we receive.  Below is one typical message we recently received and we wanted to share it with you.  It really does bring things closer to home when you know the people affected.

Thank you to everyone for their support and prayers.  You are helping many people in desperate need, whom you will never know.

In appreciation,

Doug Vincent

 

TREK TO TACLOBAN – A son’s desperate search for his parents in a typhoon ravaged city:

Our friend Lloyd went to Tacloban City last Monday to look for his parents. He had not heard from them since before Typhoon Yolanda made landfall. He lives in Cebu now, but grew up there and his parents still live in San Miguel, which is just outside Tacloban city.

As soon as Lloyd disembarked in the port city of Ormoc, his heart just sank. What he saw totally shocked him, there was utter devastation all over, practically all houses and buildings were damaged severely, roofs were blown off in most cases. This was really telling as to how powerful Typhoon Yolanda was (300 km/hr.) because Ormoc is on the eastern side of Leyte, facing the island of Cebu, not facing the Pacific Ocean like Tacloban City

Yet Yolanda left a swath of destruction that was hard to comprehend. Lloyd was gripped with fear and was terrified that his parents, who are in their late 60’s, did not make it, judging from the devastation he saw in Ormoc, which is 108 km away from Tacloban. He cried right there and then.

He had to walk another 8 hours to reach Tacloban City.  Sometimes he hitched a ride on tricycles when available, but he walked most of that route. There are no direct transportation options available from Ormoc to Tacloban at this point, as the roads are impassable – They are all littered with debris, trees, roofs, garbage, etc.

Thankfully, there is a happy, bittersweet and almost miraculous ending to Lloyd’s journey – He did find his parents, safe and sound in Tacloban City, but their house was totally destroyed. Well, this was almost a 100% happy ending, Lloyd’s two uncles and a cousin are still missing and unaccounted for at this point. He does not know if they are alive or if they have perished like many others.

We are now trying to help him any which way we can. Needless to say, he is very distraught and saddened by his family’s harrowing experience with Typhoon Yolanda. But he considers himself lucky to have found his parents alive. He now has to arrange and send food and other necessities to his parents from Cebu.

 Personally, I have never experienced such heart-breaking and gut wrenching stories in my life involving natural disasters in the Philippines, as what we are now witnessing before our eyes. Just another reminder of how precious and fragile life is in this world.  (by Julius Corazo) 

PDG Douglas W Vincent,  RC Woodstock-Oxford

Box 1583, Woodstock, ON  Canada  N4S 0A7

Rotary United Nations Representative, Z24

COL Representative 08-14, District 7080

www.dougvincent.com

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