Weeks after Typhoon Maring and the southwest monsoon rains brought heavy floods in the country, Filipinos are slowly forgettinganother tragic calamity that took away lives and properties.
At a time when relief operations was no longer a top-of-mind concern for many, a Turkey-based organization saw the need to carry out relief operations to the typhoon and flood victims who still seek assistance from their local social workers.
The Turkish Flour Yeast and Ingredients (TFYI) Promotion Group, an organization of Turkey-based exporters founded to promote the “Turkish brand” to the world market, recently hosted a food donation event in the cities of Calamba, Biñan and Sta. Rosa, three of the most devastated areas in the province of Laguna in the aftermath of the typhoon and monsoon downpour.
Commercial Counsellor Cezmi Besogul of Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Manila represented the TFYI Promotion Group in giving out 2,000 relief bags containing ready-to-eat goods and bottled water to the disaster victims. Joining Besogul in presenting the donation is Philippine-Turkish Business Council Chairman Ernesto Chua.
“We are saddened by the severe impact of the recent natural calamity that hit the Philippines. Given the magnitude of the destruction left by Typhoon Maring and the monsoon rains, our organization felt the need to step up to the plate and provide aid to help relief efforts in these trying times,” said TFYI Promotion Group Chairman Turgay Unlu.
For his part, Chua said, “We wish to alleviate the devastating aftermath of the typhoon through our humble contributions to the victims.”
Among those who benefitted from the Turkish trade group’s food donation is the family of Verlyn Barcelos of Calamba. A mother of four, Barcelos traveled by banca or boat to receive the bags of grocery items.
“Galing pa po kaming Purok Tres sa Brgy. Palingon na hanggang ngayon ay lubog pa rin sa baha. Pinasasalamatan po namin ang mga taga-Turkey sa kanilang donasyon na pagkain. Malaking tulong po ito sa pagtawid ng aming gutom sapagkat kaunti na lang po ang dumadating na tulong sa panahong ito [We come from Purok Tres in Brgy. Palingon, which is still submerged in flood water. We are really grateful to the people of Turkey for this donation because it will help in satisfying our hunger, more especially in these times when help is getting scarcer weeks after Typhoon Maring and the heavy monsoon rains],” said the 27-year-old Barcelos.
Her grandmother, Shirley Rivera, said their area gets swamped by flood water that reaches taller than their house. “Tumutuloy po kami sa bubong pag bumabaha tuwing tag-ulan. Dahil sa sama ng panahon, nawawala kung ano mang kaunting meron kami pati ang aming pagkakakitaan. Kaya umaasa kami sa tulong at donasyon [We all have to stay on our roof during heavy rains and floods. Because of the bad weather, we lose what little we have, including our livelihood. We depend on donations to get by],” said Rivera, 66.
According to Unlu, while the recent typhoon ravaged thousands of homes, destroyed millions worth of infrastructure and took away dozens of lives, it also provides an opportunity for the international community to help especially the hardest-hit communities in the Philippines.
“We are one with the Filipino people in their mission to assist individuals, who find themselves distressed and extremely vulnerable following such a catastrophe, to find courage and hope to get back to their feet and rebuild their lives,” Unlu noted.
The outreach to Laguna only made up half of the total donation which was completed within September.