Philipines fundraising across St Albans

Madeline Davies, Kerry Pollard, Lolita Smith

Madeline Davies, Kerry Pollard, Lolita Smith - Credit: Archant

The catastrophic typhoon that levelled parts of the Philippines three weeks ago has spurred local Filipinos to launch a charity in St Albans to help rebuild the country.

Madeline Davies of St Albans and Lolita Smith of Harpenden have recounted “nightmare” days spent desperately trying to establish whether relatives were still alive in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.

The pair, both carers, spoke out on Friday about the ordeal faced by their loved ones.

A distraught Madeline said it broke her heart to know that people were starving and homeless in her village, in Antique.

And Lolita, also tearful, said family members living at the remote village of Dagami had received no help.

Both carers have large extended families in the Philippines.

Lolita, who works at St Albans Hospital, said that it took her a week to establish that her father had survived the typhoon. But she has lost a cousin and his two children, all of whom drowned.

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Lolita said: “They thought the storm had finished and ran out of the house and then there was a surge from the sea.”

The two women were speaking at a press conference organised by former St Albans MP Kerry Pollard, who is helping the group set up a charity.

He said there are about 1,000 Filipinos living throughout St Albans, Welwyn and Hatfield.

Kerry said: “For decades the Filipino community has cared for the local population as nurses or caring for the elderly.

“This is a chance for us to care for them in return by helping the Filipino community to raise much-needed funds to rebuild their communities in remote locations in the Philippines.”

More information on the charity, events and where to donate will be published in a future edition of the Herts Advertiser.

Scenes of the devastation left by the typhoon have hit a nerve in St Albans, with schools and local groups rushing to collect food, clothing and other essential items to help the stricken country.

• An appeal set up by the Rotary Club of St Albans Verulamium has raised £4,800 so far. Funds are going towards water purification equipment, clothing, tents and utensils.