Sailors’ Society’s Typhoon Haiyan Relief Effort Update

was swept by Typhoon Haiyan nearly two weeks ago, in downtown Tacloban city in central Philippines November 21, 2013. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
was swept by Typhoon Haiyan nearly two weeks ago, in downtown Tacloban city in central Philippines November 21, 2013. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

Last week Sailors’ Society launched an emergency appeal in response to the devastation left by Typhoon Haiyan, in just over 10 days the shipping industry has helped to raise nearly 70% of its £100,000 goal.

With more than 20% of the world’s seafarers coming from the Philippines, the world’s shipping industry relies heavily on the stricken country. Alongside other maritime welfare organizations, Sailors’ Society quickly mobilized a network of Port Chaplains to provide free communication to Filipino seafarers around the world.

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More stories of anxious Filipino officers and crew, desperate for news of home, are coming in every day and chaplains are working long hours to provide emotional support to isolated and grieving seafarers.

Riva, a Brazilian chaplain, writes in his weekly report: “Today I visited a ship and met a Filipino Bosun who still hasn’t been able to make contact with his family and doesn’t know what happened to them. A second officer has found out some of his relatives were killed when a house collapsed…I prayed with the crew members, left them some phone cards and will visit again tomorrow.”

This is a disaster that reaches far beyond the islands of the Philippines and affects the whole industry. Nigel Jones of Rio Tinto Marine, who generously donated $20,000 to Sailors’ Society’s emergency fund, said “Many of the crews on the ships we own and charter have homes and families in the areas devastated by the recent typhoon in the Philippines. We are grateful for the response to this disaster by the Sailors’ Society and all the maritime charities. Many seafarers families have been affected and need help from the Sailors’ Society, as do crews away at sea, far from their families, friends and homes, and anxious for news and comfort.”

As well as mobilizing chaplains internationally, Sailors’ Society’s response includes sending their two Filipino chaplains to seafaring communities who have been hit hardest, where they are working closely with The Apostleship of the Sea (Stella Maris) chaplaincy team to provide urgent practical care to these communities. Over the weekend a third Tagalog speaking chaplain with experience of disaster relief was flown in to help coordinate the charity’s efforts on the ground.

Sailors’ Society’s emergency appeal will support both the initial phase of disaster relief and the rebuilding programs which will follow in the months and years ahead. Jeremy Penn, Chief Executive of The Baltic Exchange, writes in support of the appeal: “The effects of the Typhoon in the Philippines are clearly devastating for the whole population. However, the shipping industry has a particular responsibility for and affinity with Filipino seafarers and their families, so it made sense for the Baltic to try to aim its support directly at them, via the Sailors’ Society, which we know is well equipped to provide the right help.”

Sailors’ Society would like to thank all those individuals and companies who have donated to the emergency appeal, all donations are greatly appreciated and will make a tremendous difference to Filipino seafarers and their families.

Donations to the Sailors’ Society Haiyan Emergency Appeal can be made online at www.justgiving.com/sailors-society or alternatively contact [email protected] to discuss other options.

About Sailors’ Society 

imagingThe Sailors’ Society exists to enrich and enhance the wellbeing of the world’s 1.5 million seafarers. We aim to replace isolation with belonging by offering them practical help, emotional & spiritual support, financial assistance and family liaison through our Port Chaplains and Seafarers’ Centres. Charity Registration No. 237778.