“Until now we have managed to help some 500 families, who then help other families with assistance from the Focolare worldwide and also many others. At present we’re collecting money for rebuilding homes that have been destroyed. So we are counting on everyone’s help!” This invitation was given during a global internet link-up with 6,343 points on the 5 continents, with Carlo Gentile and Ding Dalisay from the Focolare community, who are directly involved in the help operation in the most devastated areas.
The continue their story sharing several examples that show the solidarity that has been put in motion, even in situation that is still quite precarious. “On the day following the typhoon, some of our people went toward the most stricken regions to offer help. Some decided to flee the city; others stayed behind: ‘We couldn’t run away and flee our responsibility. We have to pay salaries, help the city to recover. . .” Bimboy explained. He is president of the local university and member of the Focolare. Bimboy walked 10 km each day, in order to show up at the university and assure a minimal sense of normality.
Pepe and Marina are from the local Focolare community in Tacloban. They placed themselves at the service of those around them: one neighbour was in need of petro. They gave that neighbour the small amount they had for their own automobile. “What will we do now?” they wondered. The next day, unexpectedly, a cousin who was fleeing the city lent them his van until his return.
Meanwhile in Cebu help continues to arrive from the Focolare around the world. The Philippine New City Magazine wrote: “The support that continues to arrive from the international community is simply overwhelming.” The Gospel prophecy “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself” seems to be coming true in Tacloban. Even small children from around the world are sending their piggy-bank savings.”
It has triggered a positive chain reaction. One Philippine-Italian couple living in Italy said that the members of the Movement have sent 23 packages for Abuyog, where their family resides. “Not only food assistance,” they say, “but also tents, mosquito nets, mattresses and more. The packages have had an arduous journey, and were blocked a few hours from the city . . . but then they were recovered.” Then a network of solidarity was activated to help the less fortunate: “They scoured the most affected areas, distributing parcels and the rice that was sent or purchased; leaving written messages to families in difficulty, inviting them to their homes for more assistance.” And support continues to arrive, both from the AFN non-profit and the United World Project, a non-profit of the Focolare that has been in the region and is very close to the population.
Angel, a teenager from the Focolare Movement in the Philippines encouraged his teachers and classmates to give up something for the victims of the typhoon saying: “When one part of us dies, another lives.” Through his efforts he gathered many materials and more than 20,000 pesos (€ 400) in a single day. Another boy from the Focolare, Michael, gathered 7 sacks of good and usable clothing from his poor village. Help is being sent from both rich and poor countries. In conclusion, Amiel recounts: “It will take a long time for life to return to normal. But having experienced something similar to Chiara Lubich’s experience during the war, we’ll carry on. This will be our way of witnessing that God is Love!”
For anyone who would like to contribute financially:
Associazione Azione per un Mondo Unito – Onlus
presso Banca Popolare Etica, filiale di Roma
Codice IBAN: IT16G0501803200000000120434
Codice SWIFT/BIC CCRTIT2184D
Causale: emergenza tifone Haiyan Filippine
AZIONE per FAMIGLIE NUOVE Onlus
c/c bancario n° 1000/1060
Cod. IBAN: IT 55 K 03359 01600 100000001060
Cod. Bic – Swift: BCITITMX
MOVIMENTO DEI FOCOLARI A CEBU
Payable to : Emergency Typhoon Haiyan Philippines
METROPOLITAN BANK & TRUST COMPANY
Cebu – Guadalupe Branch
6000 Cebu City – Cebu, Philippines
Bank Account name: WORK OF MARY/FOCOLARE MOVEMENT FOR WOMEN
Euro Bank Account no.: 398-2-39860031-7
SWIFT Code: MBTCPHMM
Payable to: Help Philippines– Typhoon Haiyan