Pinoy volunteers, organizations work to help those affected by Harvey
by Cheryl Piccio, ABS-CBN News
HOUSTON, TX — One week after Harvey made landfall in Texas, the American Red Cross says 42,000+ people remain in Red Cross and Partner Shelters across the region.
Officials estimate as many as 500,000 people will ask the federal government for aid.
Losses for the region could range between $30 billion and $100 billion.
“Everything was flooded and may of my friends here affected. And it’s just really hard, but I’m so glad that the support of my family, friends, and fellow Filipinos it just makes the weight of it lighter and in hard times people come together,” said survivor Jianna Bajar.
Filipino American community organizations from all over the US are reaching out to help those devastated in Houston — traveling thousands of miles offering their help to kababayans, who were displaced by the calamity.
Representatives from The Cars Without Limits car club drove a 45 foot RV from Los Angeles to Houston, loaded from end to end with donated and purchased relief goods, with plans for 4 more 18-wheeler trucks on the way.
“They put out a message saying that we need to try to do something for Houston relief effort. Within a matter of 12 hours, we were able to organize something,” said Billy Bautista.
Filipino medical professionals in Houston also are volunteering in shelter clinics to collect donated medication and help in any way they can.
“3 araw na kami ditto. Yung mga donations and items na mga nandyan, sa community galing,” said Claudette Ellorin-Revote.
“It’s a combination of Filipinos mag mga ibang lahi din. So there was a call out for donations and we are started receiving all these medications and we were overwhelmed at napaka daming nag donate,” said nurse Catherine Noche.
“There was this army veteran na pumunta daw sya ng Pilipinas before. He just mentioned and he told us that Philippines is a great place. Mabuti raw na may mga Filipinos na tumutulong ditto ngayon kahit na sa mga maliliit na bagay lang po,” said volunteer Dr. Joseph Lim.
Almost as soon as the rain stopped, the spirit of bahyanihan came out in force.
The Houston Pinoy Gun Club organized rescue efforts and helped dialysis clinic workers provide life-saving treatment.
The Filipino Young Professionals, Houston’s largest Fil-AM organization, has conducted relief goods drives, and established a Harvey relief fund. The group is organizing volunteers for a broader planned relief effort.
With thousands of volunteers flowing into the city, Fil-AMs in Houston feel they also have an important part to play in the recovery of the community. All with the undying hope of returning to normal someday soon.
“All, even non-organizations decided to do an outreach just as soon as we began to be in recovery mode. We are here, Houston Strong!” said Dr. Arnulfo Rosario Jr.