More aid needed for typhoon relief says UAE campaigner

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Campaigning Abu Dhabi resident Ali Manek says relief efforts to help residents of the Philippines devastated by Typhoon Haiyan have had little to no effect in some regions.

The founder of the not-for-profit organisation The World Is Our Village has returned from his latest aid mission to the Philippines saying conditions have not improved significantly since the deadly storm struck in November.

Arriving back from the City of Tacloban, Manek said conditions almost three months on were the same as only days after Haiyan made landfall for some people.

Initially raising funds via contributions from the UAE and Canada to rebuild an orphanage he built in 2006 in Saint Bernard, Southern Leyte, Manek found he had to refocus the funds after seeing the lack of improvements for many victims in the region.

“Six weeks after the disaster, the area was still functioning in an emergency phase rather than working on rebuilding and recovery,” said Manek. “The situation was so dire that we shifted our focus to emergency relief. People didn’t have shoes or even enough food to eat.”

Using the USD $20,000 that he had raised, the organisation was able to purchase 2,000 emergency supply packages, 2,000 individually wrapped Christmas gifts, 1,500 pairs of slippers and 350 school supply kits for students.

Partnering with Manila organisation Akapbata, 45 local volunteers teamed up with Manek to help deliver supplies to different villages in the region.

Manek revealed he plans on returning in March to initiate more relief projects in the villages of Sitio Nabayi and Carles in the Iloilo region. Hoping to raise $60,000, Manek plans on either building or buying fishing boats to help residents generate their own income in the coastal towns. Depending on how much is raised, he also hopes to help rebuild childcare centres and purchase tarpaulins to provide residents with temporary roofs.

“The feeling over there is truly overwhelming. The smallest donations are making the biggest impact. It’s providing them with the motivation and resiliency they need to try to overcome,” added Manek.

To find out more about the registered Canadian NGO and how you can help visit: www.theworldisourvillage.org

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