As the death toll continues to rise in the aftermath of the powerful typhoon that swept through the Philippines last week, Southern California’s local Filipino community has been mobilizing to assist in relief efforts.
A 5K Charity Walk was held in Van Nuys early Sunday to help raise funds for victims of Typhoon Haiyan, officials said. The walk was originally planned to help victims of a 7.1 earthquake that rocked the region last month, said Jovena “Bing” De La Vega, a chief organizer of the event.
The walk was sponsored by the Philippine Disaster Relief Organization and the Romah Foundation. Other organizations, including the American Red Cross, UNICEF USA and World Vision are also collecting donations.
With a population of more than 330,000, Los Angeles has the largest Filipino diaspora in the U.S.
Some community members were boarding flights to the Philippines this weekend loaded with supplies, De La Vega said. Philippine Airlines, which offers direct flights from L.A. to the Philippines, has been asked to waive fees for travelers bringing boxes of relief supplies.
“I did see an overwhelming expression of support from our community, at least here in Southern California,” De La Vega said.
The Philippine Consulate has named organizations through which donors can aid victims of the typhoon: National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in the Philippines, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Philippine Red Cross.
The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns will hold a 12:30 p.m. news conference in Long Beach to draw support and help raise funds for relief efforts.
The death toll from the powerful typhoon that swept away coastal villages with a tsunami-like force is likely in the thousands and could top 10,000, officials said Sunday as grim reports filtered in from the provinces.
The typhoon Haiyan — also called Yolanda by Filipinos — blew through 36 provinces early Friday with gusts of up to 235 miles per hour.
More than 48 hours later, confusion reigned over the extent of the casualties and damage with many of the most desperate trapped in remote, mud-choked coastal towns without power, transportation or telephones.