Westbridge School parents, students and teachers help 'Yolanda' victims

Soon after the breakdown of power supply and communication lines after super-typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan) struck north Panay on November 8, Westbridge School’s parents, students and teachers travelled to the various towns throughout the province of Iloilo to check on those most affected by the typhoon.

After having made an ocular inspection of the province, the staff of the Jaro Archdiocesan Social Action Center (JASAC) observed that many towns, especially in the northern part of Iloilo, have been totally devastated by the super-typhoon. Among these, the most affected are the towns of Janiuay, Barotac Viejo, Carles, Batad, San Dionisio, San Rafael, Balasan, Sara, Estancia, Concepcion, and Ajuy.
A woman from San Dionisio, Iloilo
happily holds on to her relief pack

In the towns of Estancia, Concepcion, and Ajuy, whole coastline communities have been completely wiped out by the super-typhoon. The islands off these towns were left isolated due to the almost total (90%) damage of the fishing boats.

“The people of these towns are in urgent need. Whatever form of help you can extend, especially food, clean water and temporary shelters, such as tents or construction materials, will be highly appreciated.” Msgr. Meliton Oso, Director of the JASAC, broadcasted the appeal over the radio.

In spite of flood waters, obstacles of fallen trees, electric posts, and other storm-tossed debris, various private groups and individuals made numerous trips to pitch in into the relief effort immediately when the storm passed. Among these is a relief drive consisting of some Westbridge parents and teachers set out on November 10 and reached the town of Sara to help the communities where a teacher’s family resides. For that initial venture, the team brought along foodstuff segregated into separate bags good for some families in the neighbourhood. 

On November 12, some of the school’s parents and students went to the town of Ajuy to distribute food packs good for about 80 heads. Then on November 13, teachers, students and a few parents went to the town of Batad to give food packs to about 200 heads. The following day, it was to 5 barangays in San Dionisio with supplies for 200 heads.
Karl, a student council officer, assists Grade 5 students
loading the relief packs into a van

The teachers and students brought back to the school photos and stories of devastation and survival. During the relief expedition to San Dionisio on November 14 one elderly woman told the team that the relief bag she received was the first help they received for some days.

“So many people are still hungry and helpless in the north [of Iloilo],” a teacher observed. “They’d smile and say thank you, but their eyes say that they suffered so much. Sometimes, merely looking at their situation is enough to make one cry.”

The School’s families are still sending, and also are appealing, for more donations so that the school can prepare more relief packs to continue relief expeditions on the following days in other towns in northern Iloilo and in the adjacent provinces of Capiz, Aklan and Antique as well. 
Westbridge can be contacted at (033)320-7442.

Maverick tries to keep everyone's spirits up in Ajuy even as scenes of devastation
 seem to have no end - He is joined by Sedney, a WB parent, at left.

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