“We walked alongside thousands of people for about 20 km during a grueling 8 hour trek to seek safety and life from the devastation in Tacloban surrounded with dead bodies lying all around us, we need HELP!” – Sawinder Singh, 26- Typhoon Haiyan Survivor
Philippines, 18th November 2013 – UNITED SIKHS Sikh Aid relief team has reached Philippines. Volunteers Rishiwant Singh and Kiran Singh are leading the relief efforts. The first batch of goods and supplies have filled the UNITED SIKHS stock room in Khalsa Diwan Sikh Gurdwara, Manila. The Department of Agriculture reports a shortage of certified rice seeds critical to rice-growing areas of Leyte and Samar regions. For now the team will initially feed at least 200-300 survivors on a daily basis, serving 2 meals a day. We have to spread our reach and impact, as there are many who are left stranded and homeless. It is only with your support that we can increase our capacity.
Upon arrival, our team met with 6 survivors who detailed their horrific experiences during and after the storm. The 6 survivors: Harpreet Singh 24, Sawinder Singh 26, Gurjot Singh Cheema 24, Parvinder Singh Khaira 23, Shaminder Singh 22, and Rajinder Singh 41, underwent indescribable circumstances. They shared stories of the exodus which occurred two days after the winds and waters subsided.
Sawinder Singh, 26, detailed vividly, “Thousands of shell-shocked victims, including children and the elderly, walked twenty kilometers for eight hours, out of the affected area which contained dead bodies scattered all around.”
The only reason they are able to recount this ordeal and are alive is because their house was on a little hill about 25 feet higher than ground level. The beach house of their neighborhood, in Sagkahan Bliss, Tacloban, had mother, Ramandeep Kaur, and her daughter-in-law, Palwinder Kaur, residing within. Unfortunately they could not escape due to the sheer ferocity of the typhoon along with flying debris; they were eventually swept away and their bodies were found a few hundred meters away.
UNITED SIKHS is a grassroots organization that work locally with residents. We must stand by the people of the Philippines. The devastation is real, the damage is evident, and Typhoon Haiyan is one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Philippines.
UNITED SIKHS asks for your assistance in continuing our urgent disaster relief operation. Your donation will help purchase clothes, blankets, non-perishable food items, water, toiletries and baby items.