2 Tucson groups pitch in to help disaster victims in Philippines

2 Tucson groups collect donations for Philippines disaster relief

2013-11-15T00:00:00Z 2013-11-20T20:05:12Z 2 Tucson groups collect donations for Philippines disaster reliefBy Kimberly Matas Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

At World Care on Thursday, staffers packed box after box of medical supplies for shipment to clinics in the Philippines in the aftermath of the devastating typhoon last week.

Meanwhile, at the American Red Cross Southern Arizona Chapter, an employee is trying to help Tucsonans find loved ones living in the Philippines.

Both agencies are also collecting monetary donations to aid relief efforts.

“We can get money wired into the Philippines very quickly,” said Richard White, regional CEO for the Red Cross. “The logic behind it is, it takes too long to collect, sort and transfer materials. We want to … get the money right back into the Philippine economy,” he said. “The money is handled through the Red Cross from start to finish,” and is not transferred to any other relief agency or the Philippine government for distribution.

According to the United Nations, an estimated 11 million people have been affected by the typhoon. The death toll stands at more than 2,300 and likely will rise.

World Care, a Tucson-based civilian emergency relief organization, has partnered with International Relief Development and Philippines medical emergency responders to provide funding as well as supplies.

“We’re packing up the stuff right now for the clinics,” Lisa Hopper, founder of World Care, said Thursday morning, “and we’re taking funding right now because we’re going to be supporting the doctors over there — we’re helping them replenish the temporary clinics’ supplies and medical and emergency-room supplies.”

Because World Care is responsible for filling medical supply needs for its part of the relief operation, it is asking supporters to make monetary donations, not in-kind donations for the Philippines.

The disaster in the Philippines comes in the midst of World Care’s moving its business office and warehouse to separate locations, and it is not in a position to accept donations of material goods at this time. World Care has entered into a partnership with a Tucson-based business that will provide multiple sites for dropping off educational and relief supplies and a warehouse for storing the donations, and Hopper said she will make an announcement about the partnership in a couple of weeks.

In addition to collecting donations for relief, the Red Cross is trying to reconnect families through its Restoring Family Links program.

“Communications links are horrendous right now. It will take a while, but if people ask us to search for a Philippine national who is a relative, that is what we will do through Restoring Family Links,” White said.

Families living in Southern Arizona who are looking for a relative can call 318-6861.

So far a half-dozen families have called the Southern Arizona Chapter trying to learn the whereabouts of loved ones in the Philippines.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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