Ipswich: Filipino community fear for loved ones after Typhoon Haiyan rips through their homeland

A church group from Ipswich is launching an appeal to help raise funds for emergency relief for the

A church group from Ipswich is launching an appeal to help raise funds for emergency relief for the disaster in the Philippines. Many of the group have friends and relatives there and want to do all they can to help. - Credit: Archant

Members of the Filipino community in Ipswich have today spoken of their anguish after a devastating typhoon ripped through their homeland - putting their family and friends in mortal danger.

Many of the congregation from the God’s Gift International Christian Ministries (GGICM) are from the Philippines and have friends and family living on the islands.

Typhoon Haiyan hit the country early on Friday morning, killing at least 10,000 people and leaving hundreds of thousands more without clean water, electricity or any form of shelter.

Many remote communities have been left completely isolated with people loosing their homes and everything they own.

And while the members of GGICM, which meet regularly at the education centre of Ipswich Hospital, are suffering the uncertainty of knowing if their loved ones have survived, they have come together to try and provide some support to their compatriots.

Erwin Manan, a church elder, said: “Communication is down. There’s no electricity and it’s difficult to reach people there because roads have been blocked by trees, so supplies can’t reach them.

“We are hoping and praying that help will reach these people.

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“We feel really sorry for them. It’s so difficult for them, seeing bodies lying all around, it’s quite devastating.

“There’s more than 10,000 dead and they’re still counting.”

Another member of the church, Lyn Flack, has family members living in the country.

She said: “I was staying up watching the news until half two in the morning. The only way of communicating is through the satellites of news agencies and TV stations.

“It’s very hard for me because both sides of my family are there.

“It’s tragic to see the photos and videos and the storm surge.

“It gets more worrying as it goes on because you think that could be some of your family in the casualties.”

GGICM’s first money-raising effort will be a raffle, the proceeds of which will be sent out to the Philippines.

Ellen Gladding, who is coordinating the church’s fundraising, said: “We are thinking about selling raffle tickets for hampers to family, friends and children’s friends and teachers at school.

“They’ll be Christmas hampers, with a large hamper for first prize, medium for second and small for a third.

“We’re trying to do it as quickly as possible. We want to raffle it in two weeks at the church’s fourth anniversary event on November 23.”

But even with the help of GGICM, other churches and charities, and governments like the UK who have pledged £6m worth of aid, Mr Manan admitted the Philippines will still find it difficult to recover.

He said: “It will take a long, long time. Seeing your loved ones slowly dying in front of you is so difficult.

“Financially our country has lost millions and the question is who is going to provide it? It’s going to be a long recovery.

“It’s going to be ongoing fundraising until the people there are back on their feet.”