On 8 November, Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Typhoon Yolanda, slammed into the islands of Leyte and Samar in central Philippines and changed the lives of many locals there. The tropical storm that moved at an estimated 315 km/h is reportedly the strongest to make landfall in recorded history. As the powerful winds ripped off roofs and flattened homes, it also created five-metre high tsumani-like waves that overturned power lines, flooded towns and washed away their residents.
United Nation officials say about 11 million have been affected by the catastrophic damages while UNICEF estimates that 1.9 million have been displaced, including nearly 800,000 children. The death toll is still yet to be determined though by 22 November, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council confirmed that more than 5,000 had died. Nearly a week after Typhoon Haiyan, the Red Cross estimated that 22,000 people were still missing.
Those that survived the devastation face an uncertain future: lack of clean water and medical care may cause the spreading of diseases and possibly death; and lack of telecommunication and damaged infrastructure hampers relief efforts.
As the world rushed to help a nation affected by the economic and social effects of the wrath of Nature, The Ascott Limited (Ascott) in the Philippines has stepped forward to do its share and also rallied its staff to join in World Vision’s relief work. World Vision aims to provide food, blankets, mosquito nets, tarps, hygiene kits and emergency shelter to nearly 400,000 victims. As a child-focused humanitarian agency, it is also setting up child-friendly spaces in the worst hit provinces to help the affected children recover from the trauma and rebuild their lives.
With support from CapitaLand Hope Foundation (CHF), the philanthropic arm of Ascott’s parent company, CapitaLand, Ascott aims to raise PHP1.5 million for the emergency relief response of World Vision.
“The onslaught of typhoon Yolanda has caused tremendous damage and resulted in the loss of thousands of lives. Together with strong support from CapitaLand Hope Foundation, we hope to provide life-saving essentials to affected families through World Vision and at the same time send a strong message that they are not alone. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this trying time,” said Mr Arthur Gindap, Ascott’s Regional General Manager for the Philippines and Thailand.
The fundraising campaign officially kicked off at the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony held on 21 November at Ascott Makati. From now till 22 December, Ascott properties in the Philippines – Ascott Makati in Ayala Center, Somerset Millennium Makati in Legaspi Village and Somerset Olympia Makati along Makati Avenue - will have World Vision booths at its lobbies for guests and the public to donate funds. Donations may also be made online through www.worldvision.org.ph .
Beyond monetary help, Ascott staff has also given their time and effort. Just days after the natural disaster struck, 40 of its employees spent a week packing relief goods for survivors in Tacloban.
This Christmas, proceeds of S.E.N.D. (Send E-card & Donate) for Hope will go to the Philippines as well. S.E.N.D for Hope is a worldwide initiative that CHF started in 2009 to spread the festive cheer while saving the earth and helping underprivileged children. From now till 31 December, CHF will donate S$2 (PHP 70) to World Vision for every e-card sent from the website.
As you enjoy the holiday season, remember the ones for whom there is little to celebrate. Visit www.capitaland.com/cards and show your support for relief efforts for the victims of Haiyan by sending as many e-greeting cards as you can. Celebrate this Christmas by remembering the less fortunate and sending them a little hope.