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Florence Parker: working hard to raise money for Philippines

Typhoon Haiyan – it’s hard to imagine the devastation, even after seeing the media reports. The numbers themselves are staggering let alone imagining what this all means to the Filipino community. As of Monday this week there were

  • 5235 people deceased
  • 25,559 people injured,
  • 1,613 people still missing
  • 3.4 m people displaced, with 9.9 m people affected
  • The cost of the damages was sitting at A$613 million, which includes both infrastructure and agriculture. (source:  http://www.ndrrmc.gov.ph/)

People around the world have been moved to respond, and one of these people is Florence Parker, Filipino Community Council of Tasmania President and DHHS employee, who’s coordinating fundraising for the country.

“There is a lot of Filipino community here in Tasmania whose families were affected,” Florence said.

I have a friend whose brother passed away. He drowned on the impact of the typhoon. The sad thing is that it took a while before the damage could be assessed and there were a lot of bodies decomposing through that period. Even though she wants to give her brother a proper burial, she can’t do it because everything, even police officers are gone. It’s like something just came along and wiped out everything. She somehow has to accept that her brother has to be buried in the mass grave, and how could you ever actually accept that. Even if she had the means to bury her brother, no one could bury him because it’s a huge health risk and there are no facilities to bury anybody.

I’ve just had a message from another friend, who’s just heard that most of her family have now been located because it took her about two weeks to find them because telecommunications were damaged. Even if you’re phone is working, then there’s nothing to charge it with.”

The generosity of the Tasmanian community has astounded Florence, with $14,000 in donations given to date as well as a huge amount of goods.

packed goods 2

“Last week through Toll Tasmania we shipped about 150 boxes of goods, we packed more last Saturday and there will probably be the same again that will be shipped this week.

“The Filipino community is really grateful for the support or Tasmanians. I keep saying to our community, we can’t do this by ourselves, it’s just too big.

“All the recipients of these goods have families here in Tasmania. I rang them directly to distribute the goods around their local suburb, so it’s not only them who will benefit. 20 boxes of goods will be delivered to one person, who will then distribute them around the neighbourhood.”

The Foodbank also helped, donating  two tonnes of rice.  Toll Tasmania is shipping the goods to Sydney for free and then  a Filipino business will ship it  to the Philippines.

first day of packing

“The whole world has given the support to the Philippines with donations, so what I’d like to focus on now is helping with rebuilding. So I’m looking for corporate sponsorship.

The money we’ve collected so far we’ve given to affected areas. Last Friday we sent $500, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but is about 20,000 pesos, to repair the roof of a school in one of the affected areas.

Our focus is now on doing bigger things that will help a wider group of people in the long run.” 

Florence is also looking for people who might be interested in going  to the Philippines early next year to help and to distribute goods.

 “It’s massive and it’s really emotionally and physically draining to coordinate it all. It’s overwhelming but at the end of the day you just have to do it, you’re helping people.”

A fundraiser earlier this week at the Claremont RSL raised about $2600, the Buddhist community donated $5000 and at a workplace morning tea in DHHS System Purchasing and Performance another $500 was raised.

“Every dollar counts. I had a musician in George Town who held a concert and actually apologised, saying he didn’t raise much money. But it’s $300 we didn’t have before.”

To help you can either direct donations to the following account or if you know a business who might be interested in sponsoring the rebuilding effort, email Florence.parker@dhhs.tas.gov.au .

Account name: Filipino Communities Council of Tasmania

BSB: 067 100

Account number: 10178829

Follow the fundraising efforts on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Filipino-Womens-Support-Group-Tasmania/275260982524593

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