Members of Canada’s Filipino community expressed concern about family and friends in the Philippines after a fierce typhoon hit the country over the weekend, triggering landslides and building collapses that left dozens dead.
Local authorities said Typhoon Mangkhut had killed 66 people in the Philippines and four in China, where it weakened to a tropical storm that was expected to continue to produce rain and strong winds through Tuesday.
For Quebec resident Luzviminda Mazzone, the last two days had been particularly stressful as she hadn’t been able to reach her extended family in the northern part of the Philippines where the typhoon made landfall on Saturday.
“I can only pray that they’re OK,” said Mazzone, who is the president of the Federation of Filipino Canadian Associations of Quebec. “Otherwise there’s not much I can do.”
Mazzone said her cousins live in the province of Cagayan, where at least three deaths have been reported and buildings have been damaged.
“Right now the only thing I can depend on is the news for updates,” Mazzone said, adding that her association was also planning a fundraiser to support aid efforts in the region.
Augusto Cuyugan, president of the Filipino-Canadian Association of Niagara, said he had been able to reach family and friends in the central pat of the Philippines who told him they had missed the worst of the typhoon.
While his loved ones were safe, Cuyugan said he was still concerned about others who may not have been as lucky and said his association was planning to raise money to help those in need.
“Victims of typhoons lose everything. So we need to do something here in Canada to help them out, “he said. “In Canada, and even in the United States, we have a lot of Filipinos that came here to North America…so we need to fundraise to help the victims of the typhoon.”
In Hamilton, members of the Filipino community were reaching out to check on one another.
“It’s important, with disasters like this, that communities in Canada and here in Hamilton come together because some people have relatives in those areas and they need that community,” said Ruby Amog, president of the United Filipino Canadian Seniors Association of Hamilton.
“The Filipino community is a tight community.”
Typhoon Mangkhut prompted about 87,000 people to evacuate from high-risk areas of the Philippines over the weekend. The weather system was also the most powerful typhoon to hit Hong Kong since 1979, packing winds of 195 kilometres per hour.
— with files from the Associated Press
Alanna Rizza, The Canadian Press