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Activist calls on community to help Philippines

An activist is reaching out to the community to help the Philippines after a typhoon struck on Christmas Eve and killed at least 50 people.

Cleveland Simmons is working with members of the Court Street community to send supplies to those ravaged by Typhoon Phanfone.

He said: “We have a relationship with some of the people from the Philippines and once we are in contact, then we can find out how we can assist them.

“With the help of the Association of Filipinos in Bermuda and other people who are willing to sponsor us, we think we can do so.”

Mr Simmons said that there was still much to plan, but they hoped to send necessary resources to those in need.

He spoke after Leony Bacabac, a Filipino national living in Bermuda as a caregiver, shared on Monday how her family dealt with the destruction from the typhoon.

Ms Bacabac explained that many houses in her home province of Antique had been levelled by the winds of Typhoon Phanfone.

Her parents and her sister, who live in Antique but were unharmed by the storm, still struggled to contact her brother in another town.

Typhoon Phanfone, known in the Philippines as Ursula, made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane on the east side of Samar on Christmas Eve.

It then swept through the islands of the Eastern Visayas region, southern Luzon and Western Visayas until Christmas morning.

The typhoon's 95mph winds affected 2 million people, damaged more than 378,000 houses and caused about $21.3 million of damages to infrastructure and agriculture.

Mr Simmons urged the Association of Filipinos in Bermuda to contact him so he could learn how to best assist the affected areas.

He added that Bermuda should be concerned with sending aide to the Philippines because of the typhoon's impact on Bermuda's Filipino community.

Mr Simmons said: “We as Bermudians are part of the world's community. Let's say that our waters rushed up on our shores — wouldn't we expect the world to assist us?”

A spokeswoman for the Association of Filipinos in Bermuda said that Ms Bacabac was the only person who reached out after Typhoon Phanfone struck.

But she added that more members of the Filipino community in Bermuda had probably been affected, but had not called the association.

The spokeswoman also said that the association would hold a private meeting over the weekend to plan a fundraising campaign to assist the country.

She said: “We're going to invite any members of our community who have been affected and raise funds for all of the areas that were affected by the typhoon.”

Anyone who wished to contact Mr Simmons about the fund can call 516-9968 or 519-6739.

Aid idea: Cleveland Simmons plans to start a donation drive for the Philippines after a typhoon ripped through the region on Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published January 02, 2020 at 8:44 am (Updated January 02, 2020 at 8:43 am)

Activist calls on community to help Philippines

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