The money, donated by Aston staff and students, will be used to completely rebuild the remote town of Barugo, in the largely rural province of Leyte. The huge storm was one of the strongest to ever make landfall when it hit the area on November 8, causing significant damage and loss of life.
The appeal, which raised a total sum of £11,725, began when Aston student Lira De Veyra revealed she was from Barugo. Although her family, who still live in the town, survived the disaster, access to food, clean water and medical supplies was extremely scarce in its aftermath.
Upon learning the full extent of the catastrophe, Jill Wilson, a Director in Student Services at Aston University, instigated the fundraising campaign with Lira’s backing.
All of the funds since raised have been sent directly to the Circulo Barugueno, a group of Filipinos from Barugo coordinating relief efforts and the town’s reconstruction from the capital, Manila.
President of the Circulo Barugueno, Jorge Valentino Aruta, said:“Initially, we were most concerned with distributing relief goods to the people of the town and the villages about it. We also bought rechargeable lamps and basic tools so that homes could start to be rebuilt and repaired.
“At a recent meeting, however, we agreed to allocate the money Aston University sent us to create a plan for the rehabilitation and redevelopment of Barugo. We deem this project to be necessary and urgent – it is a fantastic opportunity to overhaul the town’s shattered infrastructure.”
The group has contacted numerous engineering professionals regarding the reconstruction work and have announced a partnership with the University of the Philippines, who will provide a team of experts to offer advice on hazard assessment, disaster resilient architecture and town planning.
Preliminary redevelopment plans include installing a new drainage system and restoring the financially important agricultural land around the town.
Jorge said:“We would like to express our deepest thanks to everyone at Aston who has supported. We feel very privileged to be involved in a project which will do more than put a plaster on the current wounds and is looking at building a better future for Barugo.”
After the typhoon, many were starving in Barugo but they have been provided with food packs and shelter.
Lira, who has been studying an MSc in Social Responsibility and Sustainability at Aston since September, said: “I am so surprised by the amount of money raised by everyone at the University for my town. It is making such a huge difference. After the typhoon, many were starving in Barugo but they have been provided with food packs and shelter. I am so grateful and I know everyone in Barugo is too.”
For further media information, please contact Jonathan Garbett, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4552 or [email protected]
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