Around 40 Tzu Chi volunteers and staff of the Philippines Tzu Chi organized a donation drive on March 26. The proceeds would go to the ongoing relief efforts for Typhoon Idai victims in southeastern Africa.
Tzu Chi volunteers and staff of the Philippines chapter on March 26 held an impromptu donation drive for the benefit of typhoon victims in southeastern Africa.
At the beginning of March, Cyclone Idai hit the nations of Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe as a tropical depression. In the wake of flash floods and mudslides, homes were destroyed and hundreds of people perished. Several days later, Idai intensified into an intense tropical cyclone and made landfall again at the same nations.
As of this writing, over 700 people are confirmed dead. However, officials fear the death toll may reach over a thousand. The World Meteorological Organization dubbed it “one of the worst weather-related disasters in the southern hemisphere.”
The current situation in these countries is the focus of Dharma Master Cheng Yen’s talk on her Life Wisdom segment (dated March 25, 2019). 40 volunteers and staff members of Philippine Tzu Chi office watched the episode, bearing witness to the suffering of the victims. Inspired, the attendees spared what they can from their pockets to help the African victims.
“Since we’re safe over here, we should give thanks and cherish our peaceful life. It’s only right to give even a little contribution to the affected people of Africa,” said Tzu Chi volunteer Chieh Fang Uy.
Seeing the plight of the victims, staff member Milagrosa Ramos painfully recalls the nightmare of Tropical Storm Ondoy (Ketsana) nearly a decade ago. She and her family were trapped on the roof, praying for rescue. At one point, she admitted to asking: “Is this the end of the world?”
“I felt the same struggle during Ondoy. You tend to think if the world’s coming to an end. I’m grateful that we managed to survive, and especially to Master Cheng Yen for helping us recover,” Ramos said.
Throughout his experience managing disaster relief activities, social worker Lawrenz Reyes has never seen a disaster of Idai’s magnitude. He said the recovery efforts of the affected nations are exacerbated by their struggling economies and widespread poverty.
“We don’t need to be helped to help. We should appreciate the opportunity to help those who are suffering which enables us to do good deeds,” he explained.