A country devastated by one of the most powerful typhoons on record is receiving help from the Fylde coast’s Filipino community.
Nurses from the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Filipino Bayanihan Community (BFWFBC) have begun fund-raising for their compatriots hit by Typhoon Haiyan.
The 235mph storm is believed to have claimed between 2,000 and 2,500 lives, and affected 11 million people since it hit the Philippines on Friday.
Richard Villarino, president of the group and a charge nurse at Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, set up a stall in the hospital’s canteen and has arranged a fund-raiser for next Friday.
He said: “We are trying to raise as much as we can because we know the damage is extensive and just by looking at pictures it looks like the infrastructure and even the strongest buildings have been damaged. There’s no water system out there and most places will have to be built again.
“At the moment, people need food, water and sanitisation and quite a lot of them are injured and need medical help.
“The re-building will take quite a while because bridges and roads have been damaged so there’s much to consider and I don’t know how much money we need.”
Father-of-three Mr Villarino, of Ingleway Avenue, Layton, moved to Blackpool in 2000 with his wife, Analiza, a cardiac nurse.
He has no family affected by the typhoon but friend and work colleague Arlene Matibag, of Devonshire Road, North Shore, was only able to make contact with her family in the Philippines yesterday to discover they were safe.
The mother-of-two moved to Blackpool at the same time as Mr Villarino’s family.
Mr Villarino added: “She contacted her family on Wednesday morning and they are OK but they are hungry because all the shops are closed.
“At the moment they have to rely on food donated by different organisations.”
The British public donated £1.5m to the relief effort in 15 hours and the Government has pledged £10m to help.
The BFWFBC’s fund-raiser will take place at St Kentigern’s Church hall, Newton Drive, Blackpool, on November 22 at 6pm.
Blackpool Ladies Choir and Blackpool Filipino Rock Band will perform on the night with donations made to the Sagip Kapamilya Charity of ABS-CBN Foundation, a Filipino broadcaster assisting the relief effort.