Students at CMC to Fundraise for Manila Typhoon Relief

The recent flooding caused by Tropical Storm Ketsana (Typhoon Ondoy) and Tropical Storm Parma has devastated the Philippines, inspiring students at the Claremont Colleges to begin fundraising for disaster relief in the country. The National DisasteFloodingr Coordinating Council of the Philippines reported that the typhoons caused over 600 deaths and hundreds of thousands of displaced people in the capital and the northern region of the Philippines. Lack of infrastructure makes it difficult to distribute aid, and every day new victims are found under landslides and debris.

Even half a world away, many Claremont students were personally affected by the disaster.

Lauren Wong ’10, who spent the summer in Manila in 2008, was horrified when she saw a picture of a flooded street of the city on the New York Times website. “That was the road I used to drive through on my way to work. It didn’t hit me how connected I felt to the place until it was gone.”

After finding out about the disaster, Wong quickly emailed everyone she knew in Manila. Fortunately, most replied with positive responses but some were not so lucky. One of Wong’s family friends replied, “Our office equipment and furniture, as well as our cars and trucks and machines (we manufacture sewing threads) were submerged in the flood. We can’t operate the wet machinery and our power supply is still unstable. This is the first time this has happened to us so we were not prepared.”

Many at the College have not ignored the natural disaster. Last Wednesday, Matthew Manotoc ‘10, former president of the Pilipino Club at the Claremont Colleges, was selling kalamansi juice, a traditional Pilipino citrus beverage, at the International Place study break as an effort to raise money for the cause. “Resources are scarce in the Philippines,” commented Manotoc, a Manila native, “and the poor are hit the hardest. The people who had barely anything lost everything.” The Pilipino Club disbanded last year due to logistical issues but the former members are joining together in support for the event.

Ongoing fundraising efforts will be held throughout October, which is also Filipino American History Month. This coming Wednesday and Thursday, Manotoc and other students will be hosting a dollar drive outside Collins Dining Hall during lunch and dinner; food and clothing donations will be collected outside of International Place.

The Pilipino Club, in collaboration with Pitzer’s Center for Asian Pacific American Students and the Asian Pacific American Coalition, is hosting a hip-hop benefit on October 29 from 7:30 to 9:30 PM. Quest Crew, the winner of Season Three of “America’s Best Dance Crew,” will headline the second annual “Fil-I-Am” event. All donations will be sent to the Philippine Red Cross and distributed according to need.