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Effects of typhoon in Philippines felt on campus

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An aerial photo shows the scene after Typhoon Haiyan hit Leyte Province, Nov. 10. The Philippine government’s disaster relief agency said Sunday about 4.4 million people have become homeless in areas hit by super typhoon Haiyan. The most powerful typhoon in the Philippines in its history. Ryan Lim / Xinhua / Zuma Press / McClatchy-Tribune

After Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines more than a week ago, aid organizations from around the world scrambled to respond to save lives.

The death toll has risen to nearly 4,000 people and another 3 million people have been displaced from their homes.  Many of those homes in communities in the path of the typhoon were flattened.

Lex Martin, president of the Magkaisa Filipino Club at Fresno State, said he was devastated and found it terrifying to see the destruction on the news.

“Just going on the news and knowing that I have family there, meeting other people who are Filipinos in the community or in our club who have families there is a terrifying thought,” Martin said.

Martin felt lucky that his family back in the Philippines is far from the location of the typhoon.

However, he had a few family friends who felt the effects of the typhoon, although not as severely.

Nicholai Dionisio, a member of Magkaisa, was afraid when the typhoon hit because he has family in the Philippines and could not contact them.

“I can’t even contact my own family, so I’m not even sure if my own family is even safe right now,” Dionisio said. “I’m just scared for them and hope they are still OK and well.”

Martin was amazed at how destructive the typhoon was and was sad to see the devastating situation back in his home country.

“It’s kind of amazing the amount of destruction that’s capable from this kind of thing—this natural event,” Martin said.

“It’s sad to see homes that have been torn down, hope and promises that have been wiped out completely from the rushing water that came in. It’s sad that some people who need help, who had been lucky to survive, lost their homes, their loved ones and are left with nothing.”

Martin said he was shocked at the rising death toll but was grateful to see his own community in the Philippines coming together with aid to help the victims.

“Just looking at the death toll and hearing about it, it’s just shocking, but it’s also been good to see the people in the community trying to get aid. I’m happy to see the amount of help the world and our community, in general, is trying to help.”

Currently, the Magkaisa Filipino Club is collaborating with other organizations on campus to collect donations that will be sent to the Red Cross for the Philippines. The club is passing out pamphlets to create awareness in the community.

“Right now, it’s just a matter of us wanting to do something as much as we can,” Martin said. “It’s so hard because we’re so far away, and that’s how I feel, too. They just want to give as much help as we can after being such a far distance from it.”

Martin said donations can be made at the club’s booth on campus.  The booth, which has a metal roof and Filipino flag, is located in the Free Speech Area.