Friday, 20 October 2017

Brothers help bring relief to typhoon victims

TWO brothers have been helping to take aid to people in the Philippines left homeless by Typhoon Haiyan.

TWO brothers have been helping to take aid to people in the Philippines left homeless by Typhoon Haiyan.

Dave Smith, 59, from Crazies Hill, has raised more than £2,500.

His brother Mike, 60, who has lived in Cebu in the Philippines with his Filipino wife since he retired in 2009, has been delivering supplies.

The brothers say that while the big towns and cities are receiving international aid, there are “forgotten corners” of the country where people are cut off from help.

These include Tabogon, where more than 570 people have lost their homes, Medellin, Luyang and Punto.

Dave Smith has been collecting donations from family and friends and transferring the money to his brother in the Philippines, where it is used to buy food, fuel and building materials.

His brother regularly drives the seven-hour round trip to Tabogon to deliver food and equipment. Mr Smith said: “We heard the reports on the radio and I said to my wife, ‘I wonder if Mike will get involved?’ Sure enough, we got an email from him saying he had started filling up his truck.

“Mike goes up there every few days and every single penny goes directly to helping the people. He doesn’t charge anything. It’s getting better there and they now have the electricity back in the main town but the little villages still have nothing. They are building houses now and the final project is to install a solar-powered pump for the village.”

Mike Smith has used the money to set up small generators and fridges in Tabogan as well as a medical station. He is now helping to rebuild houses and wants to get the village school up and running again.

He said: “We decided to get involved when we saw the extent of the damage done to people’s homes and lives. It was clear that we didn’t have enough resources ourselves to do very much and so we sent an appeal to family and friends. The response has been astronomic and I cannot emphasise enough the gratitude of the villagers.

“Our main aim has been to work with a few small communities that are off the beaten track. This is because we can make a difference in a small area and because these smaller communities just do not get help from the governmental or international agencies that the larger towns do.

“To the people who have donated I would like to say that thank you is clearly insufficient but your efforts have kept more than 600 families alive for the past few weeks until the cavalry of aid agencies arrived. The big issue now is building and repairing shelters as it does rain a lot here and many people have lost everything. We will carry on helping as long as there is money to do so.”

To donate, call Mr Smith on 0118 940 3969 or email davesmith54@gmail.com

For more information, visit www.thesmithyweb.me.uk/cebuaid

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