Filipino expats in Oman raise funds for Haiyan victims

The Palayok Restaurant in Al Khuwair was filled to capacity where everybody paid OMR10 for the set menu featuring cuisine from the Visayas region, which was hit the hardest by typhoon Haiyan. Photo - Supplied

Muscat: With the death toll in the Philippines rising, many in Oman continue to donate money and lend support to the victims of super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) that struck several Visayas islands.

More than 10,000 people are feared dead after Haiyan, the strongest storm in the world this year, ravaged entire communities — especially the costal barangays (villages) facing the Pacific.

The typhoon struck in early November, devastating the country where more than four million people have been displaced. "We have already collected more than OMR1,200 and are expecting more," said Marissa Mehrez, the restaurant manager of Palayok Restaurant, Al Khuwair.

The Filipino expats living in Oman responded to the recent calamities that ravaged the Visayan Islands leaving thousands homeless and helpless.

The money was raised through a charity dinner held at the restaurant in Al Khuwair last week. "One of my friend's house in Northern Cebu was completely destroyed. Like most disasters, Typhoon Haiyan has hit the poorest and most vulnerable people the hardest," one of them said.

Marissa Mehrez also said that they are expecting more money. "The collections exceeded our hopes. The support we've received from the people of all nationalities was very encouraging. The restaurant was filled to capacity where everybody paid OMR10 for our set menu featuring cuisine from the Visayas region, which was hit the hardest by the typhoon. We can now start to build shelters with proceeds from the charity event," she told the Times of Oman while going through the final tally of donations, ticket sales, and proceeds from paintings, photographs and T-shirts which were sold at the event.

She said, "Based on the event last Friday (dinner ticket + art auction), we are pleased to announce that we were able collect an amount enough to build two houses as basic construction material cost for a family can be OMR500 to OMR600.

"The core group will now start the selection process for the beneficiaries — one family from Bantayan Island (Northern Cebu) and another from Samar. Also, we are working on those individuals who have pledged that they will sponsor one house. But now we are waiting for the recommendations from the NGOs working there. These areas were chosen as demand for shelter was high and it was easier to source the material required," she said.

She also added that the support financially has been overwhelming. "To all of you, thank you for embracing the Filipino community," she summed up.


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