BLOG – Typhoon Aid: Blog Readers Raise $8000 as HK’s Maids Lead HK Fundraising 12


Thank you! Hong Wrong readers raised HK$8000 for HK charity ICM, who are working in the Philippines to provide emergency and long-term assistance to those affected by Typhoon Haiyan. This total includes ‘top-ups’ from the blog for each donation received (Hong Wrong’s appeal is now closed, but you can still donate to ICM here – PayPal accepted, or call 3470-9038).

ICM’s Director of Donor Relations, Peter Fry thanks blog readers and explains the current situation on the ground…

[In response to a commenter below, here is what Peter said about ICM’s status as a faith-based charity.]

HK’s Response…

  • The Hong Kong government stalled for almost a week after the Philippines requested emergency aid, eventually agreeing to donate US$5.6 million to relief efforts. Kitty Choi Kit-yu insisted HK’s aid money would ‘not be wasted’, as several layers of bureaucracy and checks would imposed on any charity seeking to apply for a slice: “When we scrutinise their proposals, we will look at the timetable of their relief project, where are they doing it, and details such as how many packs of rice, bottles of shampoo… or medicine are they buying.” 
  • The Equal Opportunities Commission expressed concern over racist comments made by Hong Kongers in the public sphere following the disaster.
  • Additionally, legislators refused to drop a threat to impose sanctions on the long-suffering country unless its president personally apologises for the isolated actions of a lone-wolf madman three years ago.
  • Thus, as the local and national governments responded callously (to a chorus of global condemnation), much of the city’s fundraising efforts were led by some of the city’s poorest and most marginalised over the weekend – HK’s domestic helpers…

Maids hit the streets, shaking tins and accepting clothes donations. There was even street karaoke…

The city’s Christian and Filipino communities also collected usable material donations for Caritas Philippines. Sissi Bonvini joined and documented their efforts below. She said: “Independent stores’ owners were very helpful and gave us discounts once they found out we were buying for the people affected by the typhoon”.

Across town, Operation Migrants’ Rescue Compatriots – representing 70 local Filipino groups – raised HK$90,000 by the end of the weekend.

 The SCMP reported that even the Indonesian domestic helper community were mobilised and out raising funds for the relief effort…

via Edmond So, SCMP.

Ennie, a member of The Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers, told the paper that “We need to help each other. The Filipinos helped us in 2004, and now it is time for us to help them back… They are having a tough time…”

China’s Reponse…

  • Meanwhile, miserly Beijing, unable to differentiate between its own petty land grabs in the South China Sea and the suffering of thousands of ordinary Filipinos, made an insulting gesture of US$100,000.
  • Inevitably, the world’s second largest economy (with a GDP of $8.2 trillion) was humiliated globally having failed to embrace a golden geopolitical opportunity to assert itself as a serious regional player. In contrast, the Philippines (43rd largest economy) gave US$400,000 to China’s Sichuan earthquake appeal and sent medical teams.
  • When ‘face loss’ eventually took a hold, China upped the aid money to US$1.74m – almost half what IKEA has pledged and less than the total raised by viewers of ‘The Colbert Report’.

Meanwhile, the US mobilised its military and donated US$20, the UK gave US$24.2m and Japan donated US$10m. However, compared to other disasters, the global response has been sloppy overall…

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Source: UN data.

GlobalHumanitarianAssistance.org says ” The number of people killed in these emergencies varied significantly – Indian Ocean earthquake tsunami 226,096, Haiti earthquake 222,570 and Pakistan floods 2,113 – and so did the number of people affected – Indian Ocean earthquake tsunami 2,321,700, Haiti earthquake 3,700,000, Pakistan floods 20,363,496 and Philippines typhoon 12,900,000. The graph shows that despite the fact that over five times as many people are estimated to be affected by the Haiyan Typhoon than by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake tsunami, the response is markedly smaller and slower.”

Upcoming Local Events:

Tonight, there will be a comedy night in aid of ICM. Acts include Vivek Mahbubani, Jim Brewsky, Pete Grella, Ryan Hynek, Sean Hebert, Gary Stephen Jackson and it will be hosted by Jami Gong…

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There is also a charity sale planned on this coming Saturday from Noon till Sold Out. All proceeds go directly to MSY Charitable Foundation. Little Square Ground Floor 21 Square Street, Sheung Wan.

On the Ground:

Exclusive photos from the Philippines last week from HK resident and ICM videographer Michal Joachimowski. Visiting the Negros Islands last Thursday, Michal said, “I had a chance to witness the amazing Filipino spirit. People helping each other, rebuilding their homes and boats. In the places where there is no media coverage people have to rely on themselves only.”

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A man cooking where his kitchen used to be.

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Nutri-pacs donated by Feed My Starving Children are being distributed to the victims.

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10-year-old Toto, a boy with special needs, walks through an area devastated by the typhoon.

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The Chairman of ICM helps bring food to the area impacted by Hainan.

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Father and son try to rebuild their home.

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Aftermath of the typhoon.

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This man’s two story home collapsed like it was made out of toothpicks.

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Noe was cooking dinner with his father Vicente while the wind took his house away.

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Pastora Patching who is looking after her church member’s three kids has to find a new home.

Family saying their good byes to the grandfather who had a stroke couple of days after the typhoon.

ICM Chairman visting a flooded church on his way to the airport

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Lady is telling how her son Estelito Jr. gave his life to save their boat – their only source of income.

ICM says:

“Thank you for your donation and those of hongwrong.com readers. A third of the disaster fund will be allocated to immediate and mid-term needs, such as food, medicines, and rebuilding. The rest of the funds will be allocated to running long-term solutions such as our community based training programs (Transform) in affected areas. This will create long term connectivity within these communities to ICM’s stable dependable network, and in turn help communities to deal with other calamities that may come their way in the future. This is ICM’s area of expertise, and we don’t want to neglect this to only focus on short-term efforts… Funds will also be used in the aftermath of the Bohol earthquake, which affected thousands of families in our regions.”

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Click here for the Mega Index.


  • Guest

    Well done Tom, for keeping up the info and to the readers for the donations. I donated to ICM, although I forgot to write in for your uplift donation! Thanks for putting the word out about their work.

    • Tom

      Much appreciated! ICM is a great cause and will be very grateful 🙂

  • Guest

    Well done Tom, for keeping up the info and to the readers for the donations. I donated to ICM, although I forgot to write in for your uplift donation! Thanks for putting the word out about their work.

    • Tom

      Much appreciated! ICM is a great cause and will be very grateful 🙂

  • smog

    Sorry to be the grouch here, but frankly I think it is absurd and wrong to be donating money through religious organisations, when it is organised religion which is itself responsible in large part for the pitiful quality of life of most rural Filipinos. As Oscar Wilde quite correctly said: “religion is the opium of the masses”, and it fucks people’s lives up just as badly.

    My donations have gone through specifc friends and people who I know will get it where it is needed without any of the crap associated with religion.

    • Tom

      I put this exact quesiton to Peter and have uploaded it for you @ http://youtu.be/qDhPJDXuhLw

      ICM does not prosthelytise, they’re the only faith-based charity I’d recommend. Besides, the Philippines is a pretty strongly Christian place anyhow…

      (Personally, I think they’d elicit more donations by remaining neutral on religion – but it lets them tap into funds from local faith groups and probably earns them easier access within the country itself.)

      • smog

        Tom,

        Thanks for that. I do understand the practical short term issues of having local distribution. But I do have to ask, why is it that in these ruined villages, the only building left standing is the church – how come there’s more money to build a church than there is to build substantial homes for people? That’s not right.

        And as an aside, I know from my time in another part of the rural Philippines, that if there’s a house in a village of substantial construction then by far the most likely explanation is that it was funded from the “wages of sin” of a women who decided that the best way to get her family into a decent home was on her back in Hong Kong, Singapore, or somewhere similar. The rest of the people who have been snared by the religious “dealers” (to continue the opium analogy) live in wood and corrugated iron huts, and go once a week to be told how wonderful their life is by the guy with all the money in the big church.

        • Tom

          Rest assured, ICM is not in the business of building churches.

  • smog

    Sorry to be the grouch here, but frankly I think it is absurd and wrong to be donating money through religious organisations, when it is organised religion which is itself responsible in large part for the pitiful quality of life of most rural Filipinos. As Oscar Wilde quite correctly said: “religion is the opium of the masses”, and it fucks people’s lives up just as badly.

    My donations have gone through specifc friends and people who I know will get it where it is needed without any of the crap associated with religion.

    • Tom

      I put this exact quesiton to Peter and have uploaded it for you @ http://youtu.be/qDhPJDXuhLw

      ICM does not prosthelytise, they’re the only faith-based charity I’d recommend. Besides, the Philippines is a pretty strongly Christian place anyhow…

      (Personally, I think they’d elicit more donations by remaining neutral on religion – but it lets them tap into funds from local faith groups and probably earns them easier access within the country itself.)

      • smog

        Tom,

        Thanks for that. I do understand the practical short term issues of having local distribution. But I do have to ask, why is it that in these ruined villages, the only building left standing is the church – how come there’s more money to build a church than there is to build substantial homes for people? That’s not right.

        And as an aside, I know from my time in another part of the rural Philippines, that if there’s a house in a village of substantial construction then by far the most likely explanation is that it was funded from the “wages of sin” of a women who decided that the best way to get her family into a decent home was on her back in Hong Kong, Singapore, or somewhere similar. The rest of the people who have been snared by the religious “dealers” (to continue the opium analogy) live in wood and corrugated iron huts, and go once a week to be told how wonderful their life is by the guy with all the money in the big church.

        • Tom

          Rest assured, ICM is not in the business of building churches.