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Alaska Filipinos organize relief efforts

Posted: November 14, 2013 - 1:12am

ANCHORAGE — Alaska residents with ties to the Philippines are closely monitoring news of the disaster from Typhoon Haiyan while trying to raise money and supplies to send to the islands.

More than 19,000 Filipinos live in Alaska and make up one of the state’s largest ethnic groups, the Anchorage Daily News reported. They have begun email chains, organized donation centers and planned events since they storm hit last week.

“Everyone’s joining together,” said the Rev. Luz Flores of Holy Spirit Center.

Flores and Orlan Paraoan, another person active in the Anchorage Filipino community, were born on islands left largely undamaged but are trying to keep Alaskans informed by passing on news read online.

“I was looking, one by one,” Paraoan said about an online photo gallery. “I almost stopped in the middle. With so much suffering, especially children, your heart can just take so much.”

Much is unknown about hard-hit Tacloban.

“The extent of the damages, the extent of the sufferings, they don’t know what’s happening,” Paraoan said.

Beth Beardsley said her sister traveled from Alaska to Cebu on Oct. 31 to check on their family’s home after it had been damaged by an earthquake. She had to evacuate from the coastline house with her 74-year-old mother.

Beardsley, secretary of the Alaska Federation of Filipino Americans, lost contact with her sister when the storm hit.

“All weekend, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, I was just in tears,” Beardsley said.

Her sister eventually found power to charge her phone and called to say the family had survived. She also told of missing roofs and roads covered by debris.

“She’s devastated right now over there,” Beardsley said.

Relief efforts in Anchorage include a vigil planned by the Alaskero Partnership at 6 p.m. Friday at the University of Alaska Anchorage student union den. The organization is seeking prayers and donations.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish is collecting clothing, blankets and non-perishable food.

Catholic Relief Services is collecting money at Kaladi Brothers Coffee locations on Brayton Drive and at New Sagaya Midtown. The store is matching donations up to $10,000.

Maharlika, Inc. is hosting “So You Think You Can Give” at the Alaska Dance Theater from 3 to 5:10 p.m. Sunday. Dance instructors will conduct 40-minute dance classes for donations.

Play N Trade, a game store, is hosting a video game tournament and silent auction from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 1. Proceeds will go to typhoon relief efforts.

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