southtownstar
SHARP 
Weather Updates

Vickroy: Local Filipinos organize relief efforts for typhoon victims back home

How to help

Local relief efforts:

Kusinang Pinoy, 16150 S. Cicero Ave, Oak Forest; (708) 535-6460

Philippine Cuisine & Grocery, 14301 S. Cicero Ave., Crestwood; (708) 925-9683

New Hope Church, 5100 W. 115th St., Alsip; (708) 824-9190

SamaSama Project, a local Filipino band that is also collecting for relief: samsamaproject@gmail.com

Tim Teehan’s Go Fund Me Page: www.gofundme.com/56l86o\

Facebook: Fundraiser for Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan Victims in Iloilo

National and international relief organizations:

Oxfam International: www.oxfam.org/en/development/philippines

Mercy Corps: www.mercycorps.org/philippines

Direct Relief International: www.directrelief.org/tag/philippines/

US Aid: www.usaid.gov/philippines

UNICEF: www.unicef.org/philippines/

Global Giving: www.globalgiving.org/projects/philippines-disaster-response/

Red Cross of the Philippines: www.redcross.org.ph/

Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: December 15, 2013 11:48AM



Crystal Banias Teehan’s heart is breaking for the people of her island hometown of Concepcion, located in the Iloilo Province of the Philippines.

The area was badly hit when Super Typhoon Haiyan pounded the Philippines Nov. 8.

“More than 90 percent of the homes were destroyed,” said Crystal, who lives in Tinley Park with her husband, Tim, and their 1-year-old son, Liam. “And more than 90 percent of the fishing boats were ruined. Fishing is their livelihood.”

Crystal’s father, Dr. Raul Banias, used to be mayor of Concepcion. Today, he and the rest of Crystal’s family — her mom, Nandie, and two sisters, Joyce and Elizabeth — live in Iloilo City.

Banias is administrator for the province, which means he works closely with the governor on planning issues. But, today, all attention is on relief efforts.

“He says they can’t even think about rehabilitation yet because there is so much relief needed,” Crystal said. “He can’t get his head around the devastation.”

Banias told Crystal, a former nurse at Elmhurst Hospital who immigrated to the United States six years ago, that thousands of people across the province are crammed into schools and municipal buildings. There is very little food, very little clean water and no sanitation, she said, so they are digging holes to accommodate waste.

Haiyan, known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, was packing 140-plus mph winds when it made initial landfall on Eastern Samar before dawn on Friday.

The powerful winds, mixed with pounding rains and storm surge, knocked out homes, roads and power lines, killing thousands during its island hopping course of destruction.

Matters were compounded by a small earthquake this week and a second smaller typhoon that crossed the area Tuesday night.

Crystal’s husband, Tim, owns Tinley Ice Company; his grandfather and aunt own Teehan’s Irish Tavern in downtown Tinley.

Tim has started a fund, at www.gofundme.com/56l86o, that will forward cash donations directly to an account Banias has set up in Iloilo.

“My dad will use the money to buy food, water and tents for temporary shelter,” Crystal said.

Still waiting

Like so many others, Renato Zubieta, of Alsip, was still awaiting word Tuesday that his relatives in the Philippines were OK.

“My nephew lives just 45 minutes from Tacloban,” he said. “I have two phone numbers for him and I keep calling but they just keep ringing and ringing.”

Zubieta, representative for the Filipino American community of Alsip, immigrated to the United States from the Mindanao region 19 years ago. He is organizing a relief effort.

“I am really worried but this is nature, it’s catastrophic. We can’t do anything at this point but send help,” he said.

He is asking people to donate clothing, shoes and canned goods either by boxing them up or dropping them in a collection box at Philippine Cuisine and Grocery, 14301 S. Cicero Ave., Crestwood.

Zubieta has arranged with LBC Express of Elk Grove Village to ship the items for free until Nov. 23.

No strangers to natural disasters, Hospecio Lubaton, who owns Philippine Cuisine with his wife, Stella, said many of their customers have family living in the devastated areas.

“Typhoons hit the Philippines every year,” Hospecio said. “They just keep coming. But this one was a super typhoon.”

For people who live in low lying areas, the only recourse when a storm approaches is to head to the roof. But strong winds prevented that this time.

Stella Lubaton said it is not unusual for people to tie themselves to trees to keep from being swept away. Cleaning up and rebuilding is a way of life for those people, she said.

On the Lubatons’ last visit to the Philippines, a flash flood forced them to seek safety on the roof of Stella’s sister’s home. When the water receded, the lower half of the home was packed with mud.

Dealing with Mother Nature is an ongoing struggle, she said.

Nila Dimangondayao, director for worship and arts for New Hope Church in Alsip, had just gotten word late Tuesday that Pastor Virgilio Olaer, a New Hope missionary working in Baybay City on the island of Leyte, is safe. Olaer, she said, has started a number of churches in the Leyte/Samar area, including one in the Ormoc City area, which served as an evacuation site.

Dimangondayao said Olaer relayed information that the capital city of Tacloban was completely destroyed and that roads are blocked by buildings, trees, dead bodies and debris. Ormoc City, he added, was in similar condition.

Wanted: water, clothing, shoes

Through Friday morning, New Hope Church, 5100 W. 115th St., Alsip, is accepting donations of bottled water, easy open canned goods, clothes, shoes, medical supplies and towels. Dimangondayao said the church will deliver items to a cargo plane at O’Hare airport which will transport them to the Philippines.

The church also is accepting cash donations; make checks out to New Hope Church and indicate “Typhoon Yolanda” on the memo line.

Johnny Ventura, who owns Kusinang Pinoy restaurant in Oak Forest, is organizing a split the pot raffle through Nov. 24. Tickets are $2 each. Half of the money collected will go to relief efforts through the SamaSama Project, a local Filipino band that is in the planning stages of organizing relief efforts. The other half will go to the winner.

St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Orland Park will have a special collection Sunday on behalf of the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, said the Rev. Thomas Byrne. He also said students at St. Michael’s school are participating in a donation drive, with all money being sent to Catholic Relief Services for aid in the Philippines.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.