Monday, June 23, 2008

Typhoon Frank causes mayhem in the Philippines

Ferry capsizes, 800+ missing, 36 survived.

Typhoon Frank (Fengshen) tore through the island nation of the Philippines causing severe flooding, landslides, and damage to livestock and crops. But so far the biggest single tragedy was a ferry accident. A 7-storey, 23,824 ton ship, the MV Princess of the Stars, capsized in the midst of the typhoon carrying with it over 800 people and over 30 children.

The ship has been found upside down near the Romblon province with a hole in its hull. Philippine navy divers reported there was no signs of life around the ship. They tapped on the hull and have not received any replies back. Philippine officials, giving interviews with ABS-CBN tonight, reported they will attempt to enter the ship when it is safe. Additionally, President Arroyo asked the United States for help and the U.S. Pacific Command is promptly sent a rescue ship with helicopters from Japan. A U.S. Navy surveillance plane also has been ordered to the Philippines to look for survivors.

I heard about a group of 28 survivors from reporters sitting with me at the airport 8:00am Manila. With the 4 that was already accounted for yesterday, that's a total of 32 survivors. An ABS-CBN broadcast reported a total of 36 survivors so far as of 7:38pm Manila time. The day by day increase of survivors is giving anxious families hope, as there maybe a chance that more people may have survived and not accounted for.

Iloilo: "This is the worst flash flood that the province has experienced..."

Jerry Bionat, executive officer of the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) said, “This is the worst flash flood that the province has experienced.” Over 42 towns are under water in Iloilo. Iloilo Mayor Jerry Trenas in a phone interview appealed for donations of water, clothing, and ready to eat food, “We need all the help that we can get.”

How You Can Help

So far one of the Philippines' largest media company, ABS-CBN, has provided a venue on how to help. ABS-CBN's "Sagip Kapamilya" has provided a way for local Filipinos and international residents to donate.

Sagip Kapamilya is appealing for donation to serve more families through donations of rice, canned goods, blankets, noodles, sleeping mats and clothes.

These can be brought to No. 13 Examiner St., West Triangle, Quezon City.

Cash donations may be sent to BDO account no. 5630020111. For more information, please call (63)-2-411-4995 or if you are dialing from the United States, you would dial 011-63-2-411-4995.

I'm still waiting on other aid agencies in setting up specific donor accounts for these tragedies so I can publish them here.