Maple Ridge families rally support for Typhoon Haiyan victims

Fundraiser in Maple Ridge Dec. 7 to help almost a million homeless

Ria Diy (middle)

Filipino-Canadians and their supporters in Metro Vancouver are rallying to raise money for victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated a large swat of the central Philippines last week.

Typhoon Haiyan destroyed about 70 to 80 per cent of the area in its path as it tore through the city of Tacloban with wind gusts reaching 275 km/h.

The resulting storm surge whipped up six metre high waves, which flooded low-lying areas and washed away entire coastal villages.

In Maple Ridge, the Diy family was propelled to act as they watched news footage.

Ria Jade Diy, an aspiring singer, sang at a telethon on Monday. The event raised more than  $29,000 for the Red Cross.

“I really like to help people out and use my voice for a cause,” said the 16-year-old Diy, who moved to Canada when she was four.

Fortunately, no one in her immediate family was affected by the typhoon.

According to the United Nations, more than 900,000 people have been displaced by the storm, perhaps the most powerful ever to strike land, and nearly 12 million people have been affected in some way.

As of Thursday, the official death toll stood at 4,460.

Diy, her mother Jackie and sister Deanne are now planning a concert in Maple Ridge to raise more money for those affected by the storm.

What I saw on YouTube was really sad, said Diy, who is a student at Thomas Haney secondary.

“I hope things go back to normal really soon.”

The destruction caused by the typhoon has allowed Diy to put her life into perspective.

“It’s a reminder that we should all be thankful because we’re so blessed to live in such a nice country that hardly has these things happen,” she says.

“What’s really nice is that no matter what your race is, no matter who you are, everyone is united to help people across the globe.”

The federal government has pledged $5 million in aid in the wake of the disaster and will also contribute matching amounts to its Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund for every dollar Canadians give to registered charities up to Dec. 9.

Canada has also deployed members of its Disaster Assistance Response Team to the Philippines.

Randy Kamp, the member of parliament for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows-Mission,  and his wife extended his sincerest sympathies to those who have lost loved ones as a result of Typhoon Haiyan.

“Having spent seven years living in the Philippines, Ruth and I have a very personal connection to the people there and our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this disaster,” said Kamp, who also has a condolence book at his office in Maple Ridge for people to sign.

“I encourage all Canadians to offer their support during this tragic time.”

To directly contribute to the Canadian Red Cross for Philippines relief, visit redcross.ca or call 1-800-418-111You can donate $5 to the Canadian Red Cross by texting REDCROSS or ROUGE to shortcode 30333.

Sears Canada is also accepting drop-off donations at its stores and in-store donations of $1 to $10 can be made by cash or credit card with a receipt provided.

• Maple Ridge fundraiser

Ria Jade and her family are looking for local musicians who’d like to perform at a fundraiser on Dec. 7, as well as people who want to help out behind the scenes. To contribute, visit everiathing.com or email Jackie Diy at jackie_diy@yahoo.ca.

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