During the week of October 19th, the Philippines was struck by typhoon Haima that affected most of the northern parts of the country. The typhoon – given the local name Lawin – brought powerful sustained winds and massive rainfall to areas like Isabela, Cagayan and Benguet while also drawing many comparisons to Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Although Manila and Diversify felt very minimal effects of the storm, Haima affected an estimated 60,000 families and caused over $52 million in damages.
On October 25th, a donation drive was formed in Diversify to gather and send relief goods to those affected by Typhoon Haima. The initiative, led by our own Mary Ann Ronquillo, sought to gather donations from anyone in Diversify over the next few days, whether it was food, clothes or toys for children. Monetary donations were also accepted in order to purchase other essentials like canned goods, food packs, biscuits, toiletries, mosquito repellent coils and medicines. Water purification tablets were also sent since there was also a shortage of drinking water in the affected areas.
For Mary Ann, a Digital Marketing Coordinator at Diversify, the initiative also had some personal motivations behind it.
“My mom lives in Tuguegarao City (one of the major areas affected by Haima), and this was my way of saying thank you for keeping her safe amidst the super typhoon.”
Knowing that help had not arrived in some of the remote areas of Cagayan and relief goods were short at the time, she coordinated with a friend who was a councilor in one of the affected areas who was also overseeing a feeding program there. She recounts that the donations were supposed to be sent along with people who were going home to Cagayan. However, with the overwhelming number of contributions coming from Diversify and from friends Mary Ann had also asked help from, there simply wasn’t enough space in the transport to carry all the boxes at once. Instead, the relief goods were shipped through a bus company that offered courier services. Arriving on October 30th, the donations were picked up and repacked that night a team.
In total, the relief goods served at least 50 households. The teams who distributed the goods sent Mary Ann their regards and their heartfelt thanks to the people who donated.
Despite the severe damage brought about by Super Typhoon Haima, most of the people survived with a significantly lower number of casualties compared to Typhoon Haiyan. The bigger challenge now is for the community to recover from this calamity, but Filipinos have always been very resilient by nature.