Edmonton’s Filipino community rallies to raise money for victims of Typhoon Mangkhut
Over 300 people went to a barbecue in south Edmonton on Sunday to enjoy some grilled food, and more importantly, to raise money for victims of Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines.
“There’s still a lot of missing casualties,” said Resty Reyes, who is originally from the northern part of the Philippines, the region that faced the most devastation in the aftermath of the powerful tropical storm.
According to an Associated Press report on Friday, the natural disaster and the landslides that followed have left at least 95 people dead and more than 50 others missing.
On Sunday, the president of the Philippine Business Society of Alberta, which put on the fundraiser, said the number of fatalities could continue to rise.
“There’s one place… where there’s a lot of people who were buried by the landslide,” Celso Andrade said. “The situation right now is very dire because as of this moment, there are 411,000 families affected by the typhoon. That’s equivalent to like 1.7 million people.
“It’s hard when you don’t know what’s going on in the Philippines and you can’t even help.”
Watch below: Philippine authorities released aerial footage on Sept. 19 showing the site of a landslide that killed dozens of miners and their families in Itogon on Sept. 15.
Andrade said the fundraising goal for Sunday’s barbecue was $4,000. An organizer later told Global News the event raised more than $8,200.
“A lot of the people right now lost a lot of their livelihoods — all their things,” Andrade said when asked about what prompted the business organization to put on the event. “In order for them to be able to start up a bit, we’re doing this in co-operation with the Red Cross to give them direct support from the people of Alberta.”
Andrade said there are between 15,000 and 20,000 people of Filipino descent in Edmonton and about 175,000 across the province.
On Thursday, about 270 government troops and police officers were deployed to high-risk villages in the Philippines to prevent residents from returning. Officials in the Philippines have limited the number of rescuers in these villages over concerns that heavy rain may trigger new landslides.
READ MORE: Typhoon Mangkhut barrels through Philippines
Watch below: On Sept. 15, 2018, Ines de La Cuetara filed this report about Typhoon Mangkhut.
The Philippines is considered to be one of the countries most impacted by natural disasters. It is hit with about 20 tropical storms every year.
Andrade said that simply getting a hold of family members after Typhoon Mangkhut hit earlier this month is proving to be a challenge.
“It’s hard to communicate with them (family) right now,” he said. “There’s now power… [to charge your] cellphone [there].
–With files from The Associated Press’ Bullit Marquez and Joeal Calupitan
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.