AN Appleton family are making a plea for help as their relatives in the Philippines are still in desperate need of aid.
More than two-and-a-half months after Typhoon Haiyan swept the country killing thousands and leaving destruction and chaos in its wake, many homes are still without water and electricity.
Geri Rhodes, who was born in Leyte where the typhoon struck, said the youngest members of her family are so traumatised they cry whenever it starts to rain as with no TV or radio to warn them, they fear another typhoon is coming.
The mum to 13-year-old Holly, who visited her hometown shortly after the typhoon had hit in November, said: “We went out there wanting to help but not knowing how many from my family were alive which was the most horrible thing.
“When we got there it was complete darkness because there’s no generator there and as we travelled to my dad’s house the devastation got worse and worse.
“It hurts me to recall it as the stench of death is everywhere and you don’t know if your family members, neighbours, old class mates are dead or just unable to communicate that they are okay.
“There’s more non-identified bodies than identified, It’s heart breaking.”
In the aftermath, greenery has been replaced with chocolate brown mud and people have been forced to live on the streets in tents with many buildings including school classrooms having lost their roofs.
During the typhoon, one of Geri’s cousins survived by clinging to wooden beams across the top of the ceiling while the water rushed below them.
Other family members, including her five-year-old nephew, would have died if it not have been for a nearby toilet to hide in.
Geri has now started a project called ‘Seeds of Hope’ to provide seeds for schools and communities in Leyte and is hoping to raise funds which will be given to the victims directly.
Geri added: “People are trying to recover but they have been bombarded with heavy rain and two smaller typhoons since.
“We are trying to help directly rather than going through an agency as the Government is intercepting aid and want to control everything.
“They are really letting people down but instead of complaining I’m trying to do my part and be pro-active.
“I break down even now trying to explain to people what’s happening and showing them pictures.
“Everyone is starting from scratch so I hope my project will help the whole community by supporting the schools and the farmers.”
Anyone who can help should e-mail email@example.com or visit facebook.com/groups/tarabayanihantayo/