By Formosa Relief Team (Originally in Chinese)
In the early morning of October 18, 2015, Typhoon Koppu landed at Casiguran, the coastal town in Aurora Province located on the eastern part of Luzon Island, with wind speeds reaching 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour). Heavy rains brought by the typhoon triggered flooding and landslides, destroying crops and leaving damaged roads. The strong winds blew off rooftops, uprooted trees, and knocked out power in several provinces. Fifty-eight people lost their lives, more than 3.1 million were affected, and over 137,000 houses were damaged or destroyed.
Upon receiving the loving instruction from Master to render aid to those affected, members of The Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association Taipei Rescue Team immediately applied for a Philippines visa, and arrived in Manila on October 23. With the information provided by our local Association members, we came to the office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in the City of Cabanatuan on the morning of October 26, and were given a list of areas where people were desperately in need of aid. We then decided to first go to the remote rural township of Gabaldon, which consists of 16 villages and has a population of over 30,000.
We drove into the town on a recently restored road that was bumpy due to a mudslide, and at times we had to wade into the water. A local government official told us there were villages that were still very much in need of help. As a result, we decided to spend the US$14,000 contributed by Master to aid the four villages of nearly 1,500 families that were severely hit by the typhoon. Every household was given basic necessities including two blankets, three kilograms of rice, one bottle of cooking oil, one bottle of soy sauce, one bottle of vinegar, 500 grams of sugar, soap etc, together with Master’s The Key of Immediate Enlightenment Sample Booklets.
In the afternoon, after receiving the paperwork issued by the Mayor of Gabaldon, the Honorable Rolando S. Bue, we immediately rushed to the National Food Authority in the City of Cabanatuan to purchase 100 fifty-kilogram rice packages. We then went to a local mall and purchased enough other necessities for 1,600 households. We asked our fellow Association members in Manila to contact a local blanket distributor, and had 3,200 blankets sent to Gabaldon Municipal Social Welfare and Development office the following day.
The next day, the mayor dispatched four Jeepneys, a form of public transportation in the Philippines, to deliver the rice and other necessities we purchased.
The following morning, we arrived at the villages of Calabasa and Bagting to distribute relief materials to 286 and 400 families, respectively. In the afternoon, we went to the villages of Bagong Sikat and Tagumpay and gave out relief materials to 350 and 407 families, respectively. The four village chiefs brought village officials, and all helped with the distribution. We received many thanks on this day, and we all replied “Give thanks for God’s grace” or “Thank Master’s grace.”
We left the remaining supplies at the Social Welfare and Development office to give to other villages in need. With the help of Mayor Rolando S. Bue, local government officials and village leaders, we distributed five tons of rice, 3,200 blankets, and other necessities to the people of one of the most severely affected areas. Individuals receiving Master’s blessing and love all sincerely expressed their gratitude.
Expenditures by Supreme Master Ching Hai and Her International Association For Typhoon Koppu Relief Work in the Philippines
|Food (oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and cookies) and soap||201,891||C|
|Total|| PHP 650,647
Throughout the relief operation, the team members paid US$2,510 for their own transportation, food and accommodations.