Somerset charity the Piers Simon Appeal is appealing for funds to help people in the disaster stricken Philippine islands following the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan.
According to official figures, over 4,000 people have died as a result of the typhoon, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, with another 673,000 displaced and more than 11million people affected.
Originally set up as a disaster relief charity, the Piers Simon Appeal has focused most of its work in recent years on the School in a Bag initiative, which provides rucksacks full of stationery and resources to poor, orphan, vulnerable and disaster affected children around the world.
As part of this activity, the Piers Simon Appeal has been working closely with the Philippine Community Fund (PCF) since March on a project that will see 1,392 SchoolBags shipped to the Philippines at the beginning of December. Although not a direct response to Typhoon Haiyan, the consignment is certainly timely as the charity’s first shipment to the Philippines.
Some of the SchoolBags in the Philippines consignment were packed by people who attended the Home Farm Fest in June this year. They will be distributed by the PCF to children on the outskirts of Manilla, many of whom lived on rubbish dumps before they were given the chance of a better life and an education by the PCF team.
The Piers Simon Appeal was set up in memory of Piers Simon from Chilthorne Domer, Yeovil, who died on the Thai island of Koh Phi Phi during the tsunami on Boxing Day 2004. Comparisons have been made between the devastation that followed the tsunami in the Indian Ocean and the current situation in the Philippines.
Piers’ brother Luke Simon is Charity Liaison Officer for the Piers Simon Appeal and School in a Bag. He says, “The scale of utter devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan to the vulnerable communities that make up the Philippine archipelago has close comparisons to that of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, when we lost Piers. We set up the charity in his name to initially help the people who helped us in the five day search to find him.
“The towns and villages will take years to recover from this cruel super storm and that is why we have launched the Typhoon Haiyan Appeal, in addition to the SchoolBag consignment being sent to the Philippines in December.”
People wishing to donate can do so online by visiting www.justgiving.com/pierssimon and typing ‘Philippines’ in the comment box, or by calling the charity on 01935 849160.