The local Filipino community held a fundraising night on Saturday to raise money for recovery from the typhoon.
It was a fabulous success with more than $20 000 being donated in just the one night. Some of that money will go to the Red Cross to be used through official channels. Some money will be taken by local people when they travel to villages and towns and will be used directly to assist people. They will go first to areas where our friends have family members. Direct help with a personal touch does much to lift the morale of people faced with such tragedy.
We have many Filipino people here in Darwin. Almost everyone has a Filipino friend or work colleague, neighbour or family member. Single men who live and work in isolated places bring back Filipina wives. They seem to me to be a hard working people in general with a wonderful sense of adventure.
Among all the volunteer acts the Darwin Rondalla performed in the concert on Saturday night. This is a mainly ukulele orchestra which has been running here in Darwin for more than 60 years. The members are Filipino. (By the way, in Darwin this means that someone in the family has this ethnic heritage. There are no ghettos here and everyone intermarries.)
Everyone is happy to help the thousands of traumatised and grieving people who have been affected by the typhoon which struck the Philippines with such ferocity. The stories coming to us are shocking. The international response certainly restores my faith in human kindness.