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PostHeaderIcon Locals Seek Help for Philippines Relief

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A group of local volunteers will fly to the Philippines to assist with disaster relief on Dec. 1 and seeks community support for a mission of mercy.

Following the super typhoon Haiyan which devastated the Philippines and claimed more than 5,200 lives earlier this month, Castro Valley native Dan Johanson will lead the group that aims to provide support to the island communities of Leyte and Samar.

“We intend to reach the most underserved locations where relief has yet to arrive and to bring resources to bear that will allow needy families to regain their livelihoods and begin to rebuild their lives,” Johanson said.

Most of the group hails from Castro Valley and Hayward and several of the volunteers are affiliated with First Presbyterian Church of Hayward, including Rev. Toby Nelson.

The volunteers are bringing supplies to help the Filipinos of Leyte and Samar revive their fishing and agriculture industries, which are the communities' primary means of support. They will also deliver and help to install solar-powered communication equipment to help local leaders coordinate aid and development on the remote islands which may not regain electricity for a year, Johanson said.

Despite the outpouring of international support since the typhoon struck, the needs of Leyte and Samar are dire, Johanson said.

“UNICEF, the Red Cross and the big organizations are effective in providing a certain bandwidth of support but we are attempting to reach the smallest, most needy communities," he said.

Johanson lived in the Philippines for more than ten years and founded Badjao Bridge, a nonprofit organization that provides poverty relief to the impoverished Filipinos known as the Sea Gypsies on the island of Panglao.

Volunteers are paying about $2,000 each for expenses of the 11-day effort. They would welcome donations.

"Our overhead is minimal and our donations are completely used for the purposes of relieving the greatest amount of suffering that people are enduring right now," Johanson said.

Badjao Bridge is accepting donations through its web site, www.BadjaoBridge.org.--MJ

Last Updated (Thursday, 28 November 2013 03:07)


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