Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Typhoon Haiyan: Music and prayers in support of battered nation

From a music marathon to food and garage sales, local Filipino community groups are rallying to raise funds for victims affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

Officials estimate over 10,000 people may have died and dozens of towns and cities have been flattened as a result of the devastating storm that hit the Philippines last week.

Filipino Becca de la Vega prays, but believes prayers are "useless without action" and felt compelled to mobilise members from her local community to "do what they can".

"I believe in God and prayer, but we can't just keep praying because we have to act on it," she said.

With other Filipino members from her local Catholic Our Lady Star of the Sea parish, Mrs de la Vega has planned a music marathon fundraiser outside the church on Friday evening. Carols, hymns and pop music will run between 6.30pm and midnight to raise money for the International Red Cross.

The event will coincide with Howick's annual Midnight Madness festival which marks the start of the area's Christmas festivities.

Despite an anxious wait for news about family members in their home city of Tacloban, New Lynn couple Dennis and Amie Maga are leading the organisation of a food and garage sale next Saturday.

Mrs Maga has still not be able to contact her mother and brother, who are living in one of the worst hit cities in the Philippines.

"We received an unbearable news from Tanauan, Leyte, the place where my wife's mother is currently staying," Mr Maga said. "The number of casualties that the local government has counted is no less than 1000 bodies from a population of 50,000, the survivors have no food for four days now.

"Even if we'd like to be optimistic, we think that our mother-in-law will find it difficult to survive."

Organisations Migrante, Filnz Fellowship and Pinay Aotearoa are appealing for donations of food or items to sell at next weekend's fundraiser sale and Filipino members of the Visayan Societies will be meeting tomorrow night to finalise plans for a fundraising drive.

"Tentatively the idea is for a four-week drive, the first week for Tacloban, second for Ormoc, third for Cebu and fourth week for Ilo Ilo," said Katilingbang Bisaya sa, NZ president of Mel Libre.

"The campaign will end on December 7 with a candlelight and prayer service to remember those who have died."

To donate

Red Cross:
World Vision:
Unicef New Zealand:
Tear Fund:
Save the Children:

Communities respond Catholic

* Bishop Patrick Dunn will lead a special Mass at 7:30 tonight at Auckland's St Patrick's Cathedral

* Music marathon - 6.30pm to midnight Nov 15, Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, Howick

* Food and garage sale - Nov 23, 11 Tableau Place, Totaravale

- NZ Herald

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